tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN May 29, 2012 1:00pm-5:00pm EDT
some type of sacrifice at least on the surface. but as you have seen over your careers here, when you make that commitment, you often find that your sacrifice is much smaller compared to the challenges others face, that opens your eyes and deepens your connection to others and to the world. and that what you get back in terms of personal fulfillment far, far outweighs what you give. and that brings me full circle, i began by talking about the challenges ahead of you, challenges which at times might seem insurmountable, that you're here today tells you that they are anything but that. . class of 2012, i challenge you to not only be optimistic about the future but also to shape and create our collective future. i challenge you to take on the world, find those issues and problems that matter deeply to
you and take action, find solutions and make a difference. in essence, do as gandhi scomblored, be the change that you want to see in the -- implored, be the change that you want to see in the world. you are more socially aware and globally oriented than any graduates in history. you're more at depth of using technology and communication tools that any graduates before you. the skills you've acquired here, both of the head and the heart, bowlesered by the love and -- bolstered by the love and support of the people here today show you are indeed ready to commence, that there will be no failure to launch. anne frank said how wonderful it is nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. class of 2012, never lose your optimism, never lose your passion for making a difference and never forget your experience at this university
and i promise you'll have many, many opportunities to fulfill your dreams and improve the world. it's your turn. it is your time. my best wishes to each and every one of you and once again, congratulations. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> wrapping up our block of commencement addresses for this afternoon. if you missed any of it, we will reair it tonight at 10:00 eastern here on c-span. a little bit later today we'll bring you today's white house medal of freedom ceremony among those receiving the honor this sear, singer bob dylan, mad lynn albright and astronaut john glenn. on the road to the -- >> a distinction between
success and greatness and too many are focusing on success. let me put it this way, you can be successful without being great and you'll never be great without being successful. if your whole moteis on randi is to get, get, get, more, more, more, if that's all it's about, then you're chasing success and in truth you're probably chasing significance. but it can't just be about the chase for success. we must also be concerned about what it means to be great. and in my tradition, greatness is simply this. he who is greatness among you will be your servant. >> watch commencement speeches from notable figures from the past three decades online at the c-span video library. >> on the road to the white house, former massachusetts governor mitt romney is
expected to win today's presidential primary in texas. and as the votes are tallied tonight, watch c-span and c-span doirk for reaction from the lone star state primary. if he does win he'll go over the top for the required number of delegates. currently he has 1,084. the target is 1,044. and it would give him 152 delegates. tennis champion billie jean king discussed equal opportunity and equal pay for women athletes. she also touched on the benefits of tennis as an exercise to address the obesity problem in this country. after her remarks she answered questions on the future of women's professional sports and empowering young girls to play tennis. this is just over an hour. >> please visit our website at www.press.org. to donate to programs offered to the public through our national press club journalism
institute, please visit press.org/institute. on behalf of our members worldwide, i'd like to welcome our speaker and those of you attending today's event. our head table includes guests of our speaker as well as working journalist who is are club members. and if you hear applause in our audience, we note that members of the general public are attending, so it's not necessarily evidence of a lack of journalism object tift. i'd also like to welcome our c-span and our public radio audiences. our luncheons are also featured on our member produced weekly podcast from the national press club available on itunes. you can also follow the action on twitter using #npclunch. after our guest speech concludes, we will have a "q&a" and i'll ask questions as time permits. i'd like to introduce our head table guest and i'd ask you to stand up.
from your right, peter foster, u.s. editor qurks the daily telegraph of london." gene, gorman health group. marsha, senior associate on -- ombudsman office at pbs. aarp bulletin. jane, general assignment reporter, nbc 4. john, chairman of the board and president of the u.s. tennis association. allison fitzgerald, freelance journalist, chairwoman of the speaker's attorney. i am going to skip our speaker for just a moment. dinah, reporter for "usa today," 2009 national press club president and the speaker's committee member who organized today's luncheon. david hag erty, first vice president, usta. kevin, u.s. navy retired, national press club member who
serbs as the advocacy committee and military outreach. and larry bivens. thank you all. [applause] on september 20, 1973, the world watched as billie jean king stepped onto the tennis court in houston to face bobby riggs, then one of the greatest tennis stars. in the leadup to the event, riggs had posted of his -- hosted his tennis prowess. he called female tennis players inferior. indeed it was but not in the way riggs thought. just a year earlier congress had passed title 9, mandating equality at schools and universities that received federal funding. but the benefits had not yet reached women's athletics. in 1972, just 29,000 women
played varsity sports at the university level, compared with 170,000 men. in high school, the disparities were even worse. fewer than 300,000 high school girls played varsity sports compared with 3.7 million high school boys. king had just helped found the women's professional tennis tour at a time when men's tennis was a wash and prize tour. she won the u.s. open but earned $15,000 less. king said she would not play the next year if the tournament failed to even up the pot. in 1973, the u.s. open became the first major tournament to offer equal prize money. plawsplausedrsh into [applause] so when king stepped into the astrodome that day she had a message to deliver and she delivered it in straight beating riggs 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.
the sunday times of london called it the drop shot and volley heard around the world. the match just didn't change women's tennis, it changed tennis, told n.p.r. in 2008. it's funny how when a woman does something it is like we affect only half of the population. she found a women's tennis magazine, in between winnings, 39 grand slam totals in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. she won her first wimbledon doubles title at the age of 17. the next year king uped the number one seed margaret core in the first round of wimbledon. from 1966 to 1975, kingdom nated the sport. for six years she ranked number one in the world. she beat world class players such as martina navratilova and
cris everett. she was named 100 most important americans. president obama awarded her the medal of freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. and if your daughter has ever won a trophy in her competitive sports league, it's time for a tip of the racket to king. since that fateful day in 1973, girls participation in high school sports has increased 940%. [applause] now, 3.1 million high school girls play on high school varsity teams and 170,000 play at the college level. but as king will tell you today, there is still ground to cover to make all sports opportunities open to all. please join me in welcoming billie jean king. [applause]
>> thank you. that's very kind of you. kind words. i didn't remember a lot of it. so glad c-span's here today. so glad we have a healthy lunch. thanks to susan. did you guys decide what the menu was going to be today? want to thank andrew price and all our servers. being so kind to us and taking care of us means a lot. it's a pleasure to be here today. do you realize i have never spoken here and i'm 68. never too late. so i'm really happy to be here and thanks, theresa and thanks to the national press club and all the officers, the board of governors and the members of the n.p.c. speakers committee for having me. i am thrilled to be here because i certainly watched enough people speak here so
thank you. to john who was already introduced of theresa, the president and chairman of the usta. we got a lot of people from usta. we're covered, man. i love it. also our mid-atlantic section. where are they? are they here today at all? that's too bad. i thought they were going to be here. just so you know, the usta is our national governing body of tennis and there's 17 geographical sections and we happen to be in the mid-atlantic section which is one of the 17 sections and it's virginia, west virginia, maryland and obviously the district of columbia, just so we are very clear on anybody that's not familiar with our sport. i think it's important you know that. i also would like to thank kirk who is the c.e.o. of community tennis. and just about everything i will be talking about today
comes under his leadership. so i want you to stand up, kirk. [applause] thank you. he's a heck of an athlete, believe me. to all of the board of directors from the usta, i really appreciate you being here. also, the two people who probably helped me the most to get me prepared today are barry ford, who's director of advocacy. i don't know where barry is but i want to thank him. there he is. please stand. and also to derrick johnson who's director of corporate communications. where are you? thank you. and thank you, witt. many of you know me as a tennis player, i guess. some of you know i am a social activist. but i come to you today from one of my proudest achievements. i am over 27 million recreational tennis players. in fact, according to the
sporting goods manufacturers association, tennis has been the fastest growing traditional sport since the year 2000. we currently have over 800,000 adult league participants, have been part of that, from 18 to 88. i just made it. and that is just adults. as you know tennis is obviously been a huge part of my life. it's changed my whole life. i was blessed to have a great career. i wish i had won more. but more importantly, tennis has given me my platform, my platform to continue my life-long quest for equal rights and opportunities for boys and girls, men and women. since i was 12-year-old, i had
an epiphany and i dedicated my life toward that goal and thanks to tennis i was able to have a platform. and thank you, riggs, that gave me a huge platform. for several years, many of you in this room have been encouraging people to pick up a racket, but why? because tennis is a sport of a lifetime. and it can be enjoyed of people of all ages and all abilities. the usta invests 100%, 100% of the proceeds from the u.s. open towards their mission. so when you come to the u.s. open, if you buy a ticket, you're helping community tennis. and the mission statement is to promote and develop the growth of tennis. in 2011, just last year, the
usta invested over $49, that's almost $50 million for public courts, scholarships, programs and grants. that's a lot. most national governing bodies don't do that. they usually always asking for money. so the usta's got $50 million. the u.s. open keeps growing so who knows what 2012 will bring. recently somebody asked me to name a huge turning point in my life. well, there's a lot. if you think about your own lives, you think about your turning points in your life, you never know how a person's going to touch your life or how you're going to touch theirs. you never know. stay alert. well, let's go back to rewind, fifth grade, elementary school, long beach, california where i was born and raised. susan sitting next to me.
thank god her father had just been transferred from new york for his job. she looked at me and said, do you want to play tennis? i look at her and i say, what's tennis? now, remember, i played every other -- tons of all team sports before that. i said, what do you do? you get to run, and you get to jump and you get to hit a ball. i go, those are my three most favorite things in sports. i'm there. i'll try it. let's go. so we go over to her country club and we play. and i come home and i had fun. i said, well, i'll get to play if susan takes me to the club. well, we're also on a softball team. at the softball practice, our coach says, billie jean went out and played tennis. she said, and value said, you know, they give free coaching, free instruction here every
tuesday at mountain park. i heard free. i said, now there might be an opportunity for me to play more. so i go out and i'm on the court with clyde walker. i'll never forget this day as long as i live, because at the end of that day i knew what i was going to do with my life. i wanted to be the number one tennis player in the world. done. my poor mother, she picks me up. you know, hi, honey. did you have fun? i go, mom, i found out what i want to do with my life. i want to tell dad and my brother. come on. come on. well, mife mother is going to be 90 in about two weeks and she still remembers that day. and we still always have a good old laugh over it. you're still going. what's going on here? so she's funny because she didn't really care. and my younger brother, randy
moffett, was relief pitcher most of his career for the san francisco giants. good slider if you're into baseball. that's my baby brother. my poor parents, they didn't care for any good but here's what happened. most people think tennis is only played in clubs. i meet people all the time. think, oh, it's a country club sport. i said, exqueeze me. over 70% of tennis is played on public parks. in public parks. and i'm one of those kids. i'm a public park kid. let me name just a few of the past champions -- when i many champions i mean number one in the world that come from the public parks. just kind of like -- this will refresh your memory. i think you've heard of artur ashe. chris everett was many time number one in the world. stan smith. jimmy connors. serena williams. venus williams. just to give you a few of the
champions that's come from public parks. because everyone's initial reaction, they think we came from a club. not true. public park. i'm happy to say that the usta is investing in public parks and schools by helping to build and refurbish courts and providing programs in countless communities throughout the country. these tennis facilities have become safe and fun community hubs. in the past six years, the organization has built or refurbished 25,000 courts in the u.s. and we hope by the end of this year we hope that we've completed 30,000. so things just keep rolling along. it's great. [applause] also, usta's very focused. in fact, the entire community is focused on this 10 and under
tennis initiative. it's just gotten started the last three, four years. and this initiative is going to help fight childhood obesity which we all know is epidemic in this country. and we're going to get kids active. we know at the women's sports foundation that if a girl does not exercise by the time she's 10 years old, she only has a 10% chance to exercise the rest of her life. so this 10 and under initiative is vital to help that. because not only do we want to get them started, we want to keep them going forever. the great thing about the 10 and under initiative is everything's smaller. the courts are smaller. the rackets are smaller. but the ball are actually -- the balls are actually bigger. this is good.
i tell you why. this is what happens when a regular tennis ball when a child plays. i have a gavel but i'll use the -- i feel really authoritative here. so when the children play with the regular ball, they're hitting all their shots up here. they get all these goofy grips and as they grow older and taller, everything is not quite right. what happens with niece balls because they're slower and they bounce a little lower, they are around their center of gravity and that's the strike zone. if you play baseball you know where that is. that is where you want it. it's the sweet spot. where your point of contact, where you hit the ball and that really helps. it makes such a difference. you would not believe the success that these children have in hitting the ball back and forth in a long rally. that never happens usually. you know, they're whipping at the air. they go back to the fence. they grab the ball. oh, ok. that's fun. ok. so now it's fun. and this way they're going to stick to it. you know what, what's good for
us is good for us mature people. are you listening? all right. this is good because i qualify. this helps us too. we don't have as much space to cover. the ball's a little slower. i like it. it's good. so guess what. this keeps everybody playing forever. it's great. i -- first time i tried it before i had my knee -- my last two knee operations, my knee replacement, i went out and tried it on the small court. i said this is for me, baby. this is fun. and i could play with the kids that way too. makes it really fun. and that way you get a lot of generations together. it's really fun. i love it. the great thing about tennis, too, it's an individual sport and it's a team sport. you got choices. another great thing is both genders, both boys and girls, men and women play it a lot. i'm talking from the grassroots to the professional. not a lot of sports can say
that. we don't have an nfl for the women. we don't have major league baseball for women. if you want me to keep going i'll keep going. i want you to think how great tennis is as a sport. it takes care of all of us and i love that fact. and today i want to introduce the owner -- stand up, mark. [applause] of the washington capitals which is one of our world team tennis teams. that's what i do with my life. mark has really gotten behind this 10 and under initiative. so the city open which comes up after the u.s. open series. every -- every -- i know that -- i know you guys do king of the capitals or something play day with this 10 and under initiative. everyone's getting behind it and i think it's so important. all of our teams, all of the professional tournaments all have gotten behind this 10 and under initiative. if you go to a castles match
you will see kids running around, playing on the smaller courts with the smaller rackets and the balls. ok. you're going -- it's so much fun to watch the kids. so far we've done about 5,000 kids courts and we're making tennis accessible in tighter areas like urban areas. we can have it anyplace. basketball court. in the street. it doesn't matter. put it up, get them playing, it doesn't matter. don't get too fancy pantsy on it. but none of these opportunities, none of these opportunities would happen without the tens of thousands of volunteers that love our sport so much. and i want to really thank the volunteers. lucy who is here. third -- third woman president of the usta. you know what i'm talking about. you're great with the sections. dale knows. i mean, all -- it's so important to really honor our
volunteers because without them it doesn't happen. every section has it. every community tennis association, everybody. the usta school program, we're also an after-school program. we've reached one million elementary school kids just last year alone. also, we also have the national junior tennis and learning network which was co-founded by arthur ashe, sheridan snyder and we have 660 chapters nationwide. by the way, sidebar, arthur ashe and charlie were roommates at ucla and they played on the men's tennis team. f.y.i. they're my era so i know. and the njtl provides tennis, educational opportunities and they also helped train the children in life skills and
that's over 250,000 underserved youth per year. fantastic what they're doing. story, trenton, new jersey, that chapter there, i think david haggerty, the vice president's dad was involved. michelle bellima, no, not michelle obama, been playing with the njtl of trenton during her sophomore year of high school. michelle became an instructor and leader for the njtl of trenton. she received a four-year scholarship from the njtl and attended drew university. she was named all-conference champion and was the most decorated female tennis player at drew. michelle's family emigrated
from africa and was the first family member to attend college . what a turning point for michelle. to have that opportunity. you never know. since 1994, usta serves, which is the charitable arm of the usta, has provided over $10 million in funding for tennis and education programs in over 170 communities and 43 states. deborah larkin, the executive director, is here today. she's fantastic. he i've known her forever. -- i've known her forever. she is a tennis nut. she plays usta leagues. i've known her many years. a dear friend. done a great job as executive director. she's a go-getter. she is perfect for that job. in the just few years, started in 2002, they provided over $-- 2003, they provided over $3 million in scholarships.
another important area is they have funded hundreds of adaptive tennis programs that allow people with disabilities to enjoy tennis. we're covering everything, man. get those checks out. we're covering all those boxes. wait. i'm not finished. sorry. more to come. the usta has a military outreach program. nevada programs that support more than 100,000 -- they have programs that support more than 100,000 for their families at home and abroad. that includes hoping provide tennis facilities and programming on bases throughout the u.s. and other initiatives like adopt a unit which provides tennis equipment to deployed forces so they can enjoy the sport in the precious downtime that they have. i know that our first lady, michelle obama, and dr. jill biden, would be absolutely
thrilled to know it and if they don't know already they will soon because i'm very fortunate to be on the president's council forfeitness, sports and nutrition. i don't know if shelly is still here but a she's my boss, executive director. she's fantastic. like u.s. army staff sergeant, andy marcaswano, she's from california. while stationed in southwestern afghanistan, the usta sent a tennis care package that included nets, rackets, balls and instructional information. andy and his fellow soldiers made a court on flattened mud and gravel. that's what i told you. go anyplace. and they set it up and they are banging the ball around. i hope it relieves some of their stress they must -- i cannot imagine the stress they
must go to. isn't it great you take a racket and you smack the ball? you don't hurt anybody. you know, it's -- i know psychotherapists say it's good therapy but you don't hurt anybody. it's fantastic. and you feel so much better afterwards. we want tennis to make a positive difference in the lives of others. the usta contingent is here this week to reach out to our national policymakers in hopes of developing partnerships that can impact more communities and lives. we want to ensure that every child has an opportunity to get the best education possible. we want to partner with communities across the country to create safe healthy communities for everyone. the usta is more committed than ever to make tennis more accessible. our goal is simple. to grow tennis and make it look
like america. that's good. let's go to q&a. whoa. a-ha. [applause] >> thank you. i left out shawn mayo who is at the table and is a board member at usta. it's the 40th anniversary of title 9. do you think it's still needed and if so should it be changed or expanded and how? >> well, it's the 40th anniversary. it was passed june 3, 1972. one of my sheroes is -- [laughter] >> ms. green, congressman green of oregon. she's no longer with us but it was her idea. she was called the mother of
education. and then the other person who's one of my heros is senator bye who was in the senate and introduced the bill. patsy mink from hawaii, fantastic. she was the first person of color that was in congress. first female, i think. i don't know. i think it's female. god, i usually have this right. i'm not going to call it a senior moment. no. it's a brain cramp. i ask kids when they're 21, what do they call it when they don't remember something. do you remember everything? absolutely not. what do you guys call it? everybody's stomped. i love it. when you're older, oh, senior moment. not. so anyway, as far as -- as far as title 9, it was about education. it wasn't about sports. that's how it originated. sports was tagged on at the
last minute. before 1972, the quotas at harvards of the world were 5% if you wanted to be a woman doctor, if you wanted to be a woman lawyer. niece are our forward-thinking educators. a woman could not get an athletic scholarship until the fall of 1972 and there weren't many in the fall of 1972. i could tell you it's hardly any because a lot of schools resisted on changing the law. as far as title 9, women are still 168 million behind every year in scholarships and opportunities. so when you hear -- when you read the sports section you'll think we're terrible because we're hurting the football programs, we're hurting the men sports. believe me, both men and women sports are being dropped in certain universities and colleges and the one thing i keep telling them, the a.d.'s, the athletic directors, don't get rid of women's tennis and
men's tennis because we have obesity in this country and we should be encouraging lifetime sports in our universities. we are putting our nation at a security risk because in the military they're having a hard time passing the test. they go to preboot camp to go to boot camp now. ok. so we have got to make this nation strong. mentally, emotionally and physically. and keep tennis in the universities and colleges. [applause] sorry. i get a little wound up. >> since we are on the topic of obesity, aside of destroying all computer games and technology, how can we change lifestyles to get out and move? >> well, it's interesting because just two weeks ago our president's council just joined forces with -- yeah, we did. yeah, we joined forces with the entertainment software association which is video games. and if you know there are a few games where you actually have to be active like "dance, dance
revolution." a lot of people don't want to do sports but they'll do that. great. just get moving. that's all it matters under our first lady's let's move campaign. so we've joined forces. and they will do more active video games. they will be part of the answer. but the average screen time is seven to eight hours a day. it's pathetic. so we know that's -- television, computers, phone. just make sure you have the top of your hair all dyed because everyone sees the top of your head now. so, anyway -- so, anyway -- i'm in an elevator and everybody is on tony blair phone. i'm like, whoa, yeah, baby. i'm very nervous for the top of my head. anyway, it's very important that we get kids outside. we need play time. we know for one minute, if you make children move in the classroom, for one minute to music, boom, boom. move your arms, move your legs. sitting on a chair, get your
circulation going, there's a little kid who said, i ploff -- he likes recess because he gets the wigglies out. i get the wigglies out. i said, do you do better when you go back in the classroom? yeah. i can focus. i said, focus, that's a very good word. they're so cute. kids get it. so we've got to get them out. so it's nutrition, we've got to find ways to get our kids moving. you know, as a parent or caregiver, whoever is taking care of children, we have to set the example. we have to live it. we can't just tell them what to do because they watch our actions. they don't listen to what we say. so if we are -- if we're walking, take a walk with a schiled or maybe a child will take a walk with you. so you never know. but obesity is going to be a bigger cause of death and health challenges than smoking. ok. it's done now. it's done. so obesity is our main challenge because of the heart disease and diabetes and all the things that are hamming.
so we need to are -- things there are happening. so we need to be part of our lifestyle. it won't be easy. parents, teachers, everybody. coaches, we got to do it. it's -- it's preventable. it's preventable. so we can do this as a nation. we can do this. sorry. getting wound up. >> does the current generation of athletes understand the challenges that you faced? >> well, you know, every generation has a different frame of references. -- frame of reference. in all fairness, i always try to think of the person's age and what their frame of reference must be. when i grew up it was amateur tennis and we made $14 a day. one of my first sheroes was gibson, the first person of color to win anything because people of color weren't even allowed to play in shanksed tournaments until 1950. that wasn't that long ago. so i was very fortunate as a 13-year-old to see athea gibson
in person in los angeles and got to watch her. and that changed my life, too, because i had only been in the game for two years. so it's important to really understand each person's generation and where they come from. i don't think they understand. i don't expect them to understand but i can tell you where there is nine of us that got together for a union. we are called the original nine. and we started women's professional tennis. that's not the way i wanted it. i wanted the men and women to be together and they rejected us. i went to plan b and we started ourselves and we're very fortunate that we signed a $1 contract with helman in houston, texas. and that's professional tennis the way you know it today. do i expect maria sharapova or venus or is he convenienta and we can tell them and they have a sense of history.
they didn't live it. i didn't live with the pressures they deal with. they're very different. look at the money management they need to do. i would like to have that challenge. i must tell you. because i love money because it creates opportunity. i am not very high maintenance. i would be giving most of it away. it's fun to make money and create opportunities for people. no. there's different pressures. they're much better players today. if i could hit one shot like they do today that would be just a fantastic feeling. so everyone's different. but i must tell you, with the wta, the women's tennis association, we have these mentoring classes all the time so we're very connected to the generations. my generation spent an enormous time with chris everett and martina navratilova to help them. we ask of them to keep doing it each generation and we do try to really connect the generations and they do know about the past history because
they're taught the past history. katrina adams is here today and she's on the board of directors of the usta, but she went to northwestern. she won the ncaa in 1987 with diane stone who is actually my assistant which is really funny. but, you know, it's amazing what each generation gives and we do stand on the shoulders of the generations before us. we just do. and so i'm very thankful to althea gibson and the other guys around that time, too, that were very good to me. we just have to -- we're all in this together. we are in this together. so we have to help each other. >> what do you think has been the biggest change in tennis in the past 20 years? >> 20, that's not very long ago. well, i think it's been an evolution of equipment change. this racket -- i'm going to
mess up my -- sorry it's really light. this is like my -- this is like my security blanket. like lyonus. when i got my first racket, i told my dad said i wanted to play tennis and he said, great, show me. i begged them to give me a job, my neighborhoods. then when i had $8.29 saved, a mason jar up in the cupboard i said, mommy, daddy, i went to brown sporting goods and got my first racket and the salesperson said to me, well, what kind of racket do you want? i said, what does $8.29 buy? i got it because i loved the color. it was -- it's -- purple is my favorite color. laugheneder, violet. i would sleep with my racket every night. and i would dream about winning and being number one. so when i see my -- this racket
i said, oh, i love it, i love it. just like lynus with your blankey, that's how i am with my tennis racket. the biggest thing is materials and the racket. they're so light. my wooden racket was 13 3/4 ounces. federer is pretty heavy. sampras is heavy. the aerodynamics, it's so much harder. the sweet spots, i can go on and on and on. all the pros are talking about the strings they use. oh, it's got little sharp things in the strings so it -- the spins take more. like if you have seen nadal hit that forehand spin, the reason it takes -- everything's exaggerated. the slice is exaggerated. the topspin is exaggerated and they have the control we never would have had. our sweet spot was this big on
our racket and our racket looks like a bad mitton racket. with the little frame. it's so cute. and the athletes, let's face it the training, the nutritional, all the information available and how to train is so much better. much more dynamic. the kinetic linkage they use when they hit, we were taught to be very static. i mean, it is totally evolved into -- that's why i say if i could hit one like the kids hit today, wow. i tell them that all the time. god, every generation just gets better. and if you have' an older person and you keep talking about the glory days, that's fine. but the kids are better. >> do you agree with john mcenroe that the pros should go back to wooden racket to bring strategy, subtlety back to the game? >> well, john just described his game. because he's actually a genius,
ok. he had the best hands i think of anybody and had the greatest touch and i loved the way his mind works. now, he still plays every day. he's a crazy, man. he's out on the court. he's in better shape now than when he played. i mean, he'll tell you. oh, my gosh. the only thing that kept him going was doubles because he played doubles so much. that kept him sharp. the year he stopped playing doubles, i said, he's in trouble. sure enough. because that's where he got his practice. i mean, it kept him sharp. so that would be nice. i don't think -- i don't know about the environmentalists would like the wood idea. it's different. and sometimes occasionally they have tournaments -- some of the older players with wooden rackets. it's pretty -- they're not too many left. it's getting scarce.
players and rackets, scarce both ways. >> are you satisfied with the level of pay today in women's tennis compared to thoon the men's tour and are there other outstanding quality issues? >> i bet you guys aren't used to these questions, are you? men -- there are so many men in sports. it's really -- we start talking about the girls, but we are very fortunate to have equal prize in the majors. i want to salute the usta because the u.s. open was the first by many, many years. the difference happened in 1968 was the first year we got money. you know how we get money, checks. before that we were amateurs. so of 1968 was the beginning of what we call open or modern tennis. ok. so someone says open tennis you'll now know what that actually men's. it means it started in 1968 where we got paid and i won wimbledon and rod won wimbledon and he got a check for 700
pounds and i got a check for 750 pounds. i thought we were going to get equal. i thought we'd get our little check and everybody would be happy i thought, of course not. was i clueless or what? i said that will be another challenge. another one. i'm thinking, geez, will it ever stop? so over the years we just behind the scenes kept after the others. the australians came around and they backed off again. i must tell you venus williams stepped up and she did make a difference. she was willing to go to meetings, behind the scenes, she was willing to do a lot of things and put her name -- put herself on the line. and most players have a really hard time doing that. so i take my hat off to venus. in 2007, all four majors gave us equal money. there's still a lot more money in men's tennis. they have more opportunity. some of it is cultural. but usually it's because of the old boy network takes care much
each other more than the girls. but let's face it men's tennis right now has three players that are extraordinary. federer, djokovic and nadal. and they're extraordinary. women right now can't decide who's number one. but that's great competition. you know it's funny with the media, they always complain if -- no matter which way you go. if there's a rivalry going on they say, oh, the rest of the competition is no good. and then if you don't have a rivalry like in the bill's tennis right now, they -- in the women's tennis right now they say, what's going on? we have a generation of this. it's amazing to listen. so things go in cycles. but right now you will anever see three players i don't think ever again in the history -- they're real exceptional human beings and athletes. but the women, lots of competition to decide who will be number one. we don't know which is kind of
interesting to me too. whereas i know the top three will be up there in the guys. but we have -- we always have a long way to go the wonderful thing about equal prize money, it's not about the money, it's about the message. we want to empower every human being, boy, girl, to be the best he or she can be. everyone should not be discounted. no person should be discounted for anything. so it's very important that we help each other. doing the right thing. i must tell you men come up to me in their 40's and 50's today, a lot of times it's with tears in their eyes and they say that match when i played king -- when i played bobby riggs how that changed their whole perception and now they have a daughter and how they're going to raise her. they insist their boys and girls, their sons and daughters have equal opportunity and equal, equal, equal. and they say, they point to that match. i saw that when i was 10 years old. i saw that when i was 12 years old. that changed my life in how i
raise my daughter and how i've raised my boys and actually president obama was 12 years old when he played that and he's told me the story too. it's amazing how these men are the first generation -- first generation of men of the women's movement. ok. they are. so if you're in your 40's or 50's, little 60's there, you are the first generation of men of the women's movement. >> you were recently awarded the presidential medal of freedom. what is the single most important thing president obama could do to address the continuing gender inequities? [laughter] >> oh, my goodness. well, he's been trying with the fair pay act and all the different things that are going on. but we really need people to do it. not just leadership. each one of us, every single human being is an influencer.
every single one of you in this room, everyone who hears these words, each and every one of us is an influencer. how are you influencing that women don't get paid 77 cents on the dollar? it's very hard for when some -- when you're in power to give up some of that power. it's very hard. if you're the dominant group, you know very little about subdominant groups. the subdominant groups know a lot about the dominant groups because they got to bob and weave. the subdominant groups got to bob and weave. they got to survive. they got to know a lot about the dominant group. that's why it's important that the dominant group knows a lot about the subdominant groups. and we got to give -- you have to give it up if you're a dominant group. be inclusive. advocate for each of us.
doesn't matter our gender or sexual orientation. it doesn't matter. disability. it doesn't matter. help each other. it's amazing how they want to be better than someone else. it feels like they're the big cahuna. true champions treat people above -- great leaders raise people above themselves. [applause] >> what advice would you give mothers raising daughters today in regards to sports and society in general? >> wow. it's so funny. i think in terms of boys and girls, i get these just women -- like what would a mother -- well, i think what i find with a lot of women -- let's say i go to a reception like today, and i say, what do you like to do? oh, i'm a terrible athlete. oh, i'm so bad. but i play tennis.
i do this. i like to dance. if i ask a guy that question, he doesn't say, oh, i'm a terrible athlete. what are you doing, girls? don't put yourself down. i think mothers have to notice that. and mothers have to notice -- mothers and fathers or caregivers, whoever is in charge of children, i'm telling you, everything you say, everything you do is so important because they pick up on everything. they're smart. it's amazing all the little things that go on every single day. that is racist or byas or something in some way -- bias or something in some way. teach girls to be empowered. teach girls and your sons, also, how you teach your sons is important too. because -- i grew up with a brother. i didn't know what it felt like to have a sister. so my brother and i are so close. he's so adorable. he's so -- he goes, oh, sis,
you had it so much harder than i did. i can't believe the difference. i only have to show up on time for the bus when they take the ball guys to the park. i can't believe your life compared to mine because you're a girl and we've had these discussions. i think it's important that mothers and fathers and caregivers, whoever is taking care of the child, guardians, whoever, to really tell girls to believe in themselves. don't make excuses. don't act like i'm terrible. come on. don't say you're a terrible athlete. that's for sure. not around me. if you can breathe, you're an athlete. [applause] >> many young women admire you and all that you've done in and outside of sports. who did you admire when you were growing up as a young girl? >> women or men? >> either. >> althea gibson. i told you about her. obviously my mother and my father are a huge influence.
they were a good team. they loved each other. my dad passed away. he passed away six years ago. they helped each other. they weren't afraid to cross the so-called female-male domain. my dad would say, betty, put your feet up. i'll cook tonight. whatever. they would help each other. my mother would usually defer to my father. that generation. they were good teemp. they were kind to each other. didn't get into it. no one's perfect. but i think my brother and i saw that. they loved to dance. aren't you a clogger? yeah, you are a clogger and dancer. my parents loved to swing dance. i know you are a swing dancer. i think it's really important to have a sense of teamwork. what was the question again?
forgetting. as far as male, referenced bob richards. i went to the first church of the brotheren. he was a gold medalist pole volter in two olympics and he was a minister of our church. every sunday he got sports in every sermon. don't you think i was there hanging on every word and i watched him work out. i watched his discipline. they had no bend in the pole volt. they had no bend. it was -- so he was truly having to lived his body weight up. there was no flex to it at all. i always remember looking at it. i go watch him to see the discipline and the intensity. and i remember he asked me, what do you want to me? i said number one tennis player in the world. this chubby kid he's probably thinking, she's got no chance. i loved this man. he was such a great motivator.
he was on the first guy on the wheaties box. he's a great motivational speaker. you thought you could win anything after the sermon he would give on sunday. i was ready to go get them. i loved that guy. he was awesome. >> do you feel professional tennis suffers a lack of media coverage? it seems like the only major events are carried on network television and covered by newspapers. what can be done to reverse this? >> well, actually, espn covers a lot of the u.s. open series, which leads up to the u.s. open. i think we have more hours of television probably than any other sport, i think, right up there. the trouble is it's not in primetime every time. i any a lot of people -- i think a lot of people, it's hard. if you want to root for a player, it's a player. we need more american champions. we have mardy fish and jon eisner.
david benjamin here who is head of the ita. jon eisner graduated from the university of georgia. top 10 in the world. we never thought that would probably happen. he's our poster boy now. but i've been trying to get more young people to go to college. they all want to turn pro and they are not get -- good enough, quite frankly. when you go to college, the socialization process -- when you go back on tour the way jon has, it helps you socially, it helps you coach with the life -- cope with life on the tour. it helps you off the court. i think jon child. arthur ashe graduated. we didn't used to have graduates. you have to go to homeschooling more. it's changed. but i really think most of the kids should be going to college or university not turning pro.
they can do it. >> how would you rate the state of affairs more american tennis? >> i would say we are not at our height at the moment. but we do have junior development. we're making a concerted effort. i've heard we got more young better girls than boys right now. i don't know if that's true. i don't think you ever know until they grow up. i did find this young kid -- this guy came up to me and said, i'd love you to watch my daughter. i'm thinking -- do you know how auveauven i get to watch my son or daughter? i'm pumping iron. it's my one hour to myself. and this -- he's so nice. the guy comes over. randy johnson is his name. sorry to interrupt. i'd love you to watch my daughter. i'm like, ok. i will cut through this very fast. does she have a ranking. she's number one on the 10 and
under in the southwest group. i was like, oh. southwest is one of the weaker section. she knows how to win if she's number one. i said, ok. when i come back i promise you i'll call and i will take a look. i said, please give me your information. he gives me the information. i put it in my sock. he looks down and said, sure she's not going to call. i went out and watched her and she is so highly motivated. i am very big on motivation. if the kid is motivated. taylor johnson is a lefty. now the usta has invited her -- she's now in l.a. her parents moved to l.a. so she can train at our training center in l.a. and she's 11. ok. she's adorable. she just loves it. then i have this other guy i'm trying to help get a scholarship. anyway, i love helping kids. they're fun and they're a riot. they're so funny. she loves it and she gave me a
photo of herself. she said, i'll see you at the u.s. open at 2019. >> going to leave the last minutes of this as the u.s. house is about to gavel in. quick reminder, you can watch this in its entirety at c-span.org/videolibrary. the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the chair lays before the house a communication from the speaker. the clerk: the speaker's rooms, washington, d.c., may 29, 2012. i hereby appoint the honorable andy harris to act as speaker pro temporerary on this day. signed, john a. boehner, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: the prayer will be offer by our chaplain, father conroy. chaplain conroy: let us pray. we give you thanks, o god, for giving us another day. in these days after memorial day, we thank you again for the ultimate sacrifices of so many of our citizen ancestors.
bless their families with your consolation. bless as well the men and women who serve our nation this day in our armed forces. may they and their families be assured of our deep gratitude for their service. o god, you have blessed every person with a full measure of your grace and given us the bounty of your spirit. lead us this day in the ways of peace. we pray for peace in our hearts that we will be free from selfishness or envy, that we will replace any enmity with goodwill and hatred with charity. so we might lead lives of generosity and kindness. may there be peace in our world among all nations, may each nation sense its shared destiny in a new spirit of hope and trust, one with another. and may all that is done this day be for your greater honor and glory, amen.
the speaker pro tempore: the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedingses and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1, the journal stands approved. the chair will lead the house in the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives, sir, pursuant to the permission granted in clause 2-a of rule 2 of the rules of the u.s. house of representatives, the clerk received the following message from the secretary of the senate on may 25, 2012, at 1:47 p.m. that the senate passed without amendment h.r. 2947, h.r. 3992,
that the senate passed senate 414, senate 739, that the senate agreed to senate resolution 475. with best wished, i am, signed, sincerely, karen l. haas. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house an enrolled bill. the clerk: senate 4849 arnings act to direct the secretary of the interior to issue commercial use authorization to commercial stock operators for operations in designated wilderness within the sequoia and kings national park and for what purpose does. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the house stands adjourned until 2:00 p.m. on wednesday
>> spend the weekend in wichita, kansas, with book tv and american tv. saturday at noon eastern, literary life with book tv on c-span 2. american presidents and black entrepreneurs from business in black and white. and on the founding of beach craft in the barn stormer and the lady. also, browse the rare book collection at water mark west's rare books. and sunday at 5:00 p.m. eastern, on american history tv, experience early plains life at the old cowtown museum,
the early days of flight at the kansas aviation museum. also two participants from the kansas civil rights movement in 1958 they sat down for service a -- at a drug store. once a month, see pan's -- c-span's local content vehicle study the life of cities across america. this weekend from wichita, kansas. on c-span 2 and see pan 3. in february, a panel of medal of honor winners gathered at the reagan library in california to tell their war stories and lessons that applied to today's youth. meet,i am the director of the annenberg presidential learning center here at the rona >> the video you've just seen is an introduction to the amazing work being done by our partners at the congressional medal of honor foundation and today you're going to have an opportunity to witness firsthand the power of this educational program. opportunityd the power of this program. before we start our discussion, it's a tradition to honor our men and women in uniform by
saying the pledge of allegiance and of the young men of boy scout troop 54 will lead us in that. please rise. >> i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands one nation, under god, indivisible with liberties and justice for all. >> thank you very much and please be seated. before i invite our special guest to the stage, i would like to the point out a few people we have an audience who are here to suggest learning doesn't stop when the bell rings or when your diplomat inferred. we have in the audience today,
roy and christina. he is the son of a medal of honor recipient. we have in the audience a corporal benjamin robert smith and his wife. he's a recipient of the victoria cross, which is the preeminent award for acts of brary in wartime and australia's highest military honor. thank you for joining us all away from australia. [applause] from our partners at the congressional medal of honor foundation, we have a number of members and their board as well as family members that i want to recognize. [reading names] all of the family members of our panelists who are here today, thank you for coming. [applause]
from the office and the california state senator, we have ms. linda johnson. i would also like to recognize all the veterans and active duty military to have joined us today. please stand and be recognized for your service to our country. [applause] in remarks to the congressional medal of honor society in 1983, president ronald reagan sd "freedom, we must always remember, is never more than one generation away from extinction. each generation must do whatever is necessary to preserve it and passed on to the next, or it would be lost forever." i speak to our audience of students when i s i hope you recognize both parts of what
president reagan said about freedom. each generation must do their part to preserve freedom. our speakers today represents me of america's best efforts to preserve freedom over the generations. but that's not enough. president reagan points out passing it on from one generation to the next. the team at the congressional medal of honor foundation has put together a remarkable curriculum which invites students to delve into the stories of medal of honor recipients and explore important concepts like courage, commit, sacrifice, patriotism, integrity, and citizenship. it's one of the nest examples i have seen of how we can best pass on our values from one generation to the next. when we talk about education today, much of the discussion that happens in the media and politics in general revolves around tests. students in the audience know what i am talking about. from kindergarten onward, you
have been tested continuously, some might say relentlessly, so much so that the word test itself causes a physical reaction that is not a positive one. your scores in literacy and math are used to evaluate what you have learned and how well your schools and teachers have done teaching it to you. yes spelling test, vocabulary tests, math tests, physical education tests. just when you think you have been tested enough, you spent a week or to filling in the bubbles on the stateest exam. i was in the classroom for years that we called these high-stakes tests. but i want to let you in on a secret. the test you take a classroom are not the real high-stakes tests. e tests you take outside of the classroom, the test you can't really prepare for are the real task. a real test is standing up to one of your friends if you think they're being a bully. a real test is being honest when
it would be easier to lie. a real test is when you are on patrol in the french countryside and your platoon comes under heavy fire from german machine guns and mortars. sgt walter e. larsen was in that same position when he scrambled on to a mound of earth to draw the attention of the machine guns and other members of his platoon could flee to safety. a real test is when you are flying a medevac helicopter in thick jungle fog in close range enemy fire trying to rescue fellow soldiers. in january of 1968, major genel patrick bdy flew in these conditions and despite the 400 blow holes found in helicopters flew that day, he was able to rescue more than 50 men. a real test is when infantry commander closes the landings and to any further operations because of the intensity of heavy fire, but you know american forces are in despera need of ammunition and aid.
and these circumstances, colonel bruce crandall made flights delivering ammunition and evacuating wounded men. a real test is when despite not having slept for 36 hours you and your men are loaded into a landing craft, said down river to join and tense battle. colonel j. vargas, in this situation, managed to carry fellow marines through hundreds of yards of intense eny fire to get them to a safe evacuation point. only after three days of battle did he allow himself to be treated for bullet and shrapnel into suffered. these are the tests and no ount of cramming can fully prepare you for. lucky for us, we have role models like our panelists today who are willing to passn their lessons of bravery and sacrifice to the next generation. join me in welcoming me these men to the stage. [applause]
asking you to reflect on what that means a given your experience and then we will turn to our student audience for questions. if i could start here and then head to the left. >> my name is walter now was born and raised in the state of kansas. when world war two broke out in europe, i was going to a high- school. my grandfather who was actually a german born here in the united states, he told us we are going to have a war with germany or something like this. in 1940, when i graduated from high school, my brother and i
decided we wanted to join the army. he was 4 years older than i, so we went down to the fort in kansas and my life changed from the time i had to go home and get my mother's signature. she looked me in the i and my dad said he would sign it and my mom said with tears in her eyes, son, wrote will only sn if you promise to be a christian soldier. i was shocked. i promised her i would do my very best and i remembered that from that time on, he made the impression on me that if i wasn't going to be a christian soldier, i would dishonor. i took that with me all the way through my military career.
i did not do anything unusual, and i did not do anything that would dishonor, and i did not want to dishor god. that is aware lived my life and i had a terfic military career. i have five years in the military service and i had five landings and eight campaigns and i went all the way from casablancand french morocco and landed in sicily and omaha beach in normandy. that is how i got started and my life has been changed ever since and it was the best thing that ever happened to me when she told me that. i can still remember as clear as today those tears in her eyes were coming straight from heart.
i lid my life and the best thing that happened to me in military service was when brother got killed. -- the baddest thing that happened. i remember all of these soldiers and all of these years and i have beeback several times. it is an honor to go back and respect the lives of these people. i saw some many people killed on d-day. i talk to schools all the time and i have to tell you one little thing. one little girl asked me how many people did i kill? i said i didn't kill any people. i said i wasn't trying to kill people, i was tryingo kill the enemy and they were trying to kill me. so i am probably here today because i did what i had to do
and it did not make any special efforts. but i did learn a lot from my mother and that is what kept me straight and honest throughout military service. [applause] >> walt has me all choked up. my name is pat brady. i am universally known as the greatest helicopter pilot that ever lived. [laughter] you are privileged today to meet the greatest and the second greatest of all of that is questionable. i have been a member of the battle of honor society for many
years. i know i don't look that old. the greatest thing we have ever done in our society, and we have done a lot of things with young people and veterans, with every cause we thought was right and just, but the greatest thing we have ever done is this educational program you are here to learn about. they asked a guy if you had to do it all over again, would you do it differently? we can't. we have had our time and we are out of the arena. we can't live our lives over again. we can live our lives over again through young people. we have been there and you have never been where we have been. i had a boss of mind -- i really screwed something that bad, and he said to me pat, don't feel bad. no one is a total loss.
they can only serve as a bad example. [laughter] we are here as kind of a bad example. we want to steethe young people around the obstacles we face. you have all heard of the programs where golfers go out and teach things like honesty, integrity, essential ementsf golf to young people through professional golf. our program goes out to teach patriotism, courage, sacrifice, what a true hero is and how to define a hero to the experiences of those of us who where the metal. that is what we are useful for and that is what we are dedicated to. this is a great thing we do. we are happy to do it and i look forward to your questions. [applause]
>> my name is bruce crandall. it always nice to get the microphone after pat. you might think half the people who got the medal of honor or helicopter pilots. that's not so. we had six total, i think during the war although we had some of the heaviest losses in combat. one of the privileges i had was commanding u.s. troops in combat. one of the greatest reonsibilities i had was commanding troops in combat. last week, i spent five days at fort jackson, going through some of the training our troops to in basic training and i can hardly walk now. i'm not fit for basic training anymore. 61 years ago, i graduated from high school and i was in the
same situation as many of you. i was 5 foot 6 and weighed 143 pounds i didn't know what i was going to do except i was going to play baseball. instead, i got drafted by the army in some of the yankees or the orioles. my batting average is three times my grade point. not too bad if you are graduating still. i ended up making a career out of the army. part of it was because i had been raised in a home that the service's one of the requirements. my father served in the navy, my uncles had served in the nav, and my mother went to work in a shipyard as a welder. a great uncle came to live with
us so he could help take care of us. my grandmother lived with us. we learn by example during the war what we owe to our country and how lucky we were to be in our country. the young people of today are probably the best generation we will ever have. some guy wrote an article about the second world war and said they were the greatest generation. so we always have the greatest generation. we are trying to pass on a legacy to you young folks so that you understand that courage is not a battlefield example. you all will have situations where you will be required to have courage, to say no when his dog proper answer, when others the angus come to stand up for what is right. you will learn teamwork and
relationships in your school life and then your real life. hopefully ever have to sit on the battlefield. no one hates war more than zero warrior. we as a group feel that way -- no one hates war more than zero warrior. the average age of this group is my age, and i don't want to talk about that. [laughter] we have three young guys that came on and they dropped our average age by one year. that did not make me feel any younger. i am real supporter of the program, and i am willing to help in any way i can to see that it gets to our young people. even in australia, i will be glad to know the teatime is ahead of time. thank you very much for having me here and it is a pleasure to
be in the reagan library again. [applause] >> good morning. the first thing i will say it's to the teachers and all the employees that work in the schools around our nation, especially the state of california. thank you for everything you are doing with our young generation. i have been in your shoes. i love to teach, still do, and i know the hardship she were going through in making great citizens out of these people that are here today and throughout the state of california. to ben and emma, thank you very much for being here, and the rest of the australian team, is always an honor to meet another warrior who has been highly
decorated. it is an honor to be in your company. thank you very much. a guess i am a little different than some of the -- i am not a helicopter pilot. i was in the marine corps, and a company commander. i did save about seven of my marines by going back into the battle and going forward with those that were knocked down, including my battalion commander. but there is more to that story. it tied in with anolden keys that my brothers gave to me. on the that i was about to go in to the corps. a lot of what transpired in my particular situation is based on those keys, and i am going to share them with you. hopefully some of you can put them in your pocket and maybe use a couple of them. i parents were immigrants could
my mother was from italy and my dad was from spain. two of h sons were in world war ii. one fought on iwo jima and one fought in open now. --okinawa. the case they get me as i was departing one evening from a small town in northern arizona real very useful. all came true. my mother, for example, already had three marines, one in korea and in world warii --two in world war ii. when i came home, i was devastated, having not been able to climb that ladder all the way up, but i had a wonrful father taught me, just look out
for you went up the ladder. it was an honor, too. then i decided i wanted to go into the officers' corps and was in the marine corps. my mother had convinced my three brothers that you get in there, you sit down with him and tell him he is going to the navy. he is not going to be a marine. that evening, she took my brother and my dad and told him to go start the car, we are going for ride. his conversation did not last very long. my brother says, we have been told by m to convention not to go in the marine corps like we did. -- to convince you not to go in the marine corps like we did. my older brother and the los that if you don't, we are going to break your legs. [laughter]
they were all highly decorated. they did not receive the highest awards, but they received quite a bit. the golden teas as they sat with that evening with me, i want to pass them on to the young people -- a golden keys. always said a good example. set your standards high. always take care of your fellow men. the third one was kind of tough. whatever you do, don't ever ask a marine or anyone you are leading to do anything, in peacetime or in combat, that you would not do. how does that relate to you? if you go back to the first one, setting in your standards and examples high. at this stage in life, you should be writing down some objectives, but make them reachable objectives. be yourself. believe in yourself. believing your god, or whatever
supreme being you believe in. always take care of each other. truly take care of each oer. learn to do it now and make your friendships today, because friendship at your level right now will always be forever. like the rest of us, and still close to my high school and appears that i had when i was growing up. still communicate. take care of each other. in my time, and then there's, we did not have drugs. how did not know what those work. the main thing was, you don't need it. the energy that you can create within your little hearts and your bodies and minds is within you right now. it is a god-given gift. i will conclude by simply saying that enjoy life, it is truly a one time around.
right now is when you want to establish yourself into what you want to be in the future, a great citizen, a great leader, a great future teacher, and educator, whatever dimension you want to get into. what promise me that you will take some of these golden keefe and used them. i transferred them from the core io my everyday life, d they work. they are very simple. set your example, set your standards high, take care of yourself, and never asked anybody to do somhing you would not do yourself. thank you. [applause] >> now we are going to get some questions from students. many of the students in the
audience have been studying your stories in going through some of this curriculum and learning quite a bit about the medal honoring what it means. some of the traits that are described in the curriculum. just as i know, in the audience we have bill and heather who worked -- who both work with the medal of honor foundation. we will start over here. go ahead. >> firstly, i wanted to thank the panel as well as the collective middle of honor recipients across the country for your undying service to our country. i am here zang from arcadia high school. my question was, following your respective experiences in the field, how would your reintegration back into society?
>> the question was, after your experiences in battle, what was it like to come back into society? >> i would like to answer that one, because i came back to california and became a city manager in northern california, and i like combat better. [laughter] [alause] i actually spent three years doing prop 13, so those of you who were alive and understand the problem. [applause] leadership in the military or outside is the same. never leave from the back --
never believed it from the back. don't ever do things that you know -- that you don't know are the right thing to do. that goes from civilian life outside. >> like p, i stayed in the years and continued on with leadership, taking care of the marin, commanding different commands from a company up to an infantry regiment of 5000 marines. but nothing changed as far as my views toward society. i was very proud of what the marines did, as well as all of us that fought in vietnam. some people cry that we lost the war. i never lost the battle. i should not say i, we never
lost the battle. the war was in our hands to win, but things happen with that we decided as a society, put so much pressure on the campaign. but it did not change my views as to live and the love of my country. i enjoyed teacng sdents. >> i stayed in the military after i me back, and i don't regret -- there may be a lesson in this, i don't know. i did not want to go in the military. when i came out of high school, i had an opportunity to play football at several universities, but there was this foxy young chick, anshe was
going to university that did not have a football team, but they did have rotc, and it was mandatory. i hated it, every day. so i kind of put up with the military, and then one thing led to another and i ended up in vietnam's for a couple of years. my thing was, i was in berlin when they built a wall. i looked around at the leadership and the people i saw who were serving their country in uniform, something iid not want to do, and i box -- i was there with norma schwarzkopf. i looked at these guys, and we get off the train in berlin, germany. a guy meet me, takes me to an important -- takes me to an apartment, the stood in the refrigerator and everything. the commander's wife the next day comes to see my wife, who was pregnant with our thd child.
wow, these people or something else. then they built the wall, we went through that kind of stress, shooting their own people off the wall. i just looked at the people around be in uniform and said there are some really wonderful leaders here. i would like to grow up and be like them. so i stayed after the time in the military and learned a great many lessons as far as courage, sacrifice, what a real hero is, those things that hopefully we'll talk about later on. so did i. it reduced audit not come back into society after the military, i stayed in. i got to serve with some of the greatest people i have ever been around anywhere. knowing what i know now, i probably would have left home when i found out my parents were civilians. [laughter] but i love to be around military people. all young people ought to take a good, hard look at it.
it will change your life. you will see leadership like you'll never see anywhere else. you are all part of the greatest generation. just take a look at it. it is a wonderful way to spend your life, even if you are only in for a couple of years. what the heck? you are still serving your country and you'll come out with great skill, discipline, and stuff like that. i did not have a problem coming back into society after combat, not one bit. say.ve got something to i am the lowest rank up here. i am not staff sgt. i was a second lieutenant when i got my medal of honor. [applause] it was a battlefield commission,
and on behalf of all the battlefield commission officers, i am a second lieutenant and the lowest ranking officer of here. that was for leadership. our love of the staff sergeant right because it was better than second lieutenant -- i loved the sat -staff sgt rank it really is a higher rank and what i am. it is very good thing to be a staff sergeant, so i am kind of happy about that. i want you to know that these battlefield commissions did not come easy. you had to be a terrific leader in the battlefield to get a
commissionn the first infantry division. i found that out for sure. on december 9, was commissioned an officer. on december 16, on the day the battle of the bulge started, i became a second lieutenant in paris, france. so i did have some leadership training. [laughter] >> we are honored to be with you all. now that you have promoted yourself, you have to buy the first round of drinks tonight. [laughter] >> on the second lieutenants pay, that is going to be tough. >> my question is, were you traumatized by all of the wounded soldiers your rescue? >> i had a real problem with
blood and needles, especlly the needles. whenever vaccinating me, i just hated that. the first time they took blood, i fainted. so i was very apprehensive about going into a combat situation where pple were in the course of the day, into tours in vietnam i picked up over 5000 people. we saw the human body in every possible, horrible configuration that it could be in. i was really worried about how i would physically react to that. even today, if i look on television at an operation or a needle, i turn it all. in combat, in the environment, it did not bother me. what bothered me is that people were hurt.
that bothered me very much, but it did not physically bother me. i was so busy with what i was trying to do. there is nothing in the world greater than to save a human life. the teachers and the coaches do this also. they save their young lives. but to find your way through a bunch of obstacles -- with meat being the greatest helicopter pilot that ever lived, i could find a way in there that no one else could find. to get your hands on the person who is seriously hurt and put them in the hands of the positions that can really say there live. that was a thrill beyond anything in life that i can think of. steak, lobster, sex -- can i say that? i don't care what it is. there is nothing in life to match saving human life.
i guess that helped me overcome my incredible physical aversion to needles and blood. [applause] >> hyper who or what inspired you to join in -- who or what inspired you to join, knowing you might not come back? who or what inspired you to join the military knowing that you might not come back from vietnam. >> i got inspired by a letter that said greetings, you have been selected. [laughter]
suggest that if they ever start the draft again, they start the letters "saying readings, you have just been shafted by uncle sam." if i had a choice, i could have gotten out of going because i was in the national guard picks all i do is tell the draft board that. but i knew i had to start at some time. i weighed 143 pounds and was 5 ft. 6. i felt like a couple of years in the army playing ball would be good f me, so i went in the army. the draft is the worst thing that ever happed to the military, in my judgment. it should not ever happen again.
the draft did not give us bad people. it gave us some great people. a lot of them have college educations or partial educations. of what it did, gave a local judge in the share of the opportunity to tell our young hoods that they eher go in the army or go to jail. all they did was change where they went to jail. today they are all volunteers and they are doing aonderful job. we ought to keep the military strong enough to encourage people to stay in that join, and to make their families live good enough so that they will. if i had it to do all over again, i would have done the same thing, because i found a career in the military very satisfying. i also found a career after i got out pretty satisfying,
coming to arizona. [applause] >> i was wondering what was going through your mind when you committed your act of bravery. >> my troops, myarines, their safety, and concentrating on bringing artillery, aircraft, helicopters, gunships in through the zone to annihilate the enemy. they always came first. still do. but i believe that is the way it should be. i think my brothers gave me some good advice about asking to do anytng you would not do. i ended up taking machine gun
misses and setting a couple of folks when my platoon got pinned down acrobatic. my troops were first in my life. >> that is the way it should be. [applaus >> i want to know how the war changed too otionall -- change you emotionally. >> brucelways says he was 140 poun and tall. i was about your size when i joined the marine corps. emotionally, i think it was the strong belief in god that really gave me the foundation to be strong and to accept life as it came, and probably the good
advice my brothers gave me. they told me some ugly things before i went into combat, into the corps, i should say. it is not matter what we saw in vietnam. what amazes me is what the gentleman tour right, lieutenant walter ehlers. what they went through in world war ii is just unbelievable. you cannot describe it. yes, we did see a lot. we did fight against some good warriors against us, but it did not reall bother me emotionally. there were times when i came home it is i think this is true of all of us. take some time to kind of wind down. today a lot of our young troops are having difficulty with ptsd.
the numerous deployment they are going on is just breathtaking. i think it is because we did the other thing and is because bruce and i, we did okay in baseball. he was an all-american and i was an honorable mention all- american in our day. ihink playing sports and physical activity and studying and accepting failure is somethinghat is hard to accept, but that was one of the bullets of wanted to gi you. there were times when i slipped, like all of us. it did not change my life. i wted to get better. that is how you should be. he should be one of the best citizens of the state of california. how is that? [applause] >> my question is for any of you
gentlemen. when you were saving men, if you think of them, or did you think of their families? >> i thought solely for my marines. as an example, there was one of my marines whose arm was just blown off, sitting by a tree. they were fighting as hand-to- hand. i promised i would go back and get him. how do i feel about that? i we back and found him. when i had him on my shoulder and i was running back to give psmen ", he "rny skipper, i want my damn arm." so i went back and got his arm, and then we put him on the
chopper. >> i never thought about it at the time, but when we saved a soldier's life, we were also saving a husband or a son, and also the grandchildren and eat-grandchildren that would come from that one soldier's life that we saved. you don't think about that at the time, but that was something that i thought about later on. like any kind of life saving, it is just a wonderful thing to be able to do, but at the time that it is going on, you are so busy that the onlymotion is really focused, concentration, to try to get the guy out and get him to the hospital. later as i have reflected on the number of children and
grandchildren and marriages and stuff like that that were involved in the lives that we saved over there. so that is a gratifying thing for me. >> thousands of missions that he flew in, he picked up not just one or two wounded warriors. i would say he saved 1000. >> one of the things that the vietnam war produced was medical evacuation from all of our cities and remote hospitals and stuff. that is one of the really positive things that came out of that work. we say blocks of life in the civilian community afterwards. when you are doing the job, you don't think about it. you never get to meet the people you are carrying out and they don't get to meet you. if i could find out all the guys i carry on, i would charge them
$5 apiece and then retired again. [laughter] but you treat the guys on the grnd, they were my family. it aually develop a sense of ownership with them. you keep that for years afterwards. we will get together in another month or so, the group that was in that battle. it is great to do. we had each other on the back and then we talk about how old it looks. we developed a relationship that is important on the battlefield, but it does come back to when you get back home and get to meet the families and realize there are that many
grandchildren and running around. >> that is what i said earlier. now is the time to start taking care of each other. it is not that hard. i am not saying you have to love everybody completely, but now is the time to establish hot that camera robbery among yourselves and ur classmates, and -- time to establish that camaraderie. >> sometimes you'll meet people in strange places that you actually rescued. in combat, we knew each other only by call signs. one day i am doing a demonstration at a teleconference that shows the community around fort benning held that helicopters looking combat. this beautiful young thing -- beautiful young lady walked up
to me and said, can i hug you? i said, you can hug me all day. so she did. shortly thereafter, her husband came behind her and he was limping. to make a long story short, it turned out that i was the pilot, and he recognized my call sign. i had picked him up in vietnam when he was wounded. another time i am going to the handball courts and somebody said, are you double nickel? i said yes. he said he did me a favor one time, what do you drink? i said scott. the next day he has a half gallon of johnnie walker black scotch. we do tend to be people that you have rescued in combat, which is very rewarding.
>> thank you for the question. [applause] >> we will take one more live question. i want to mention that we have an online audience that wanting of the web cast. >> walter ehlers, if you could go back to war, would you change anything? >> if i went back to the war, i would be sure that all the soldiers had as much training as they could possibly get before they were put into a war. that is the most important
thing. i did not get mike cuellar for being rambo or anything like that. i was only doing my job. i had two years of training before ever went to war, -- i did not get my medal of honor for being rambo. when i got my medal of honor, i was only doing my job. i went out and rescued a man who had gotten wounded after we let the rest of the squad returned to cover, safely back behind hedgerows there. it is something that you do naturally. you don't think about i and i didn't know anything about getting a medal of honor until december of 1944. i got it for the ninth and 10th of june as a staff sergeant, and
everybody says what were you doing, and somebody said why don't you go back, what wereou thinking? i said i was not thinking, i was just doing my job. had i been thinking, probably would not have gone back for it. things like that happen. i have to tell you that -- i am not telling you to be a christian or anything like this, but i am telling you what it does for you. for instance, i had a man and i ask him to go to church with me onmorning. he said i am an atheist. i said you can be anything you want to be. so he did. he went to church. when he came out, he said i am an atheist. again, i told him, you can be anythingou want to be. the first battle we got into in africa, the tanks were coming
down and they were shelling us. they told us to begin on the hill up there. keith is out there digging in on the hill. he said god, help me, god, help me. [laughter] after it was all over, i said, are you still an atheist? he said yes. i said, how come you are asking god to help you up there? >> he said, there wasn't anybody elseo asked to help me. you hear these things, and i actually see them have been in combat. people really talking to their fate automatically, even though th thought they have given it up. it is a hard thing to give up. and actually, what are we fighting for?
we are fighting for our freedom. freedom of anybody's religion. if they want to be freed with it, they ought to believe. [applause] >> i would like to make one comment to him. that is not a decision you can change to mark critz once you make it, you go on for life. cannot change your decisions next week or the week after. >> i would just add a little vignette, when walter is talking about would you do it over again. there is another medal of honor recipient named webster anderson, a great powerful soldier. he was in vietnam one night in the were overrun by the
communist. the first wave took off both of his legs. he still fought on. the next attack, they threw a hand grenade into his position. webster, a hand grena and when he was throwing it away, took off his arm. they were in the middle of a tropical storm, and i managed to get in and get webster and his wounded guys and get them to the hospital, where the save his life, but he lost both legs and he lost an arm. webster and i became very close. he thought i had saved his life. we would go and talk to students like this around the country. it would not sit. we had to prop him up. he had to fake legs and a fake arm and he had a cane on. we brought him up and kids would ask questions. they called him mr. serjeant webster anderson if you had to do over again, knowing what you know now, two
legs and one arm, would you do it again? webster looked at him and said kidd, i only got one arm left, but my country can have it any time they want. to me, that was the definition of a true patriot. webster anderson, a great black soldier. [applause] >> leroy keith tree is in fort washington right now. ask him that question -- leroy petrie. ask him if he would do it again, and he said i would do it again next time left-handed. good attitude. >> the question that comes from online, students have been submitting these are the last uple of weeks.
what helps you to be strong, think clearly, and not to give up? in the situations you were in in battle, is there anything in your past or your training -- what was the that really helps you in that moment of intensity and danger that really helps you rise to the occasion? >> did you hr the question? >> i think it was training. in my case, i could never go home and embarrass my brothers that was the big thing. i am going to go back to the love of troops. i really do. when you lead them into combat, and pat covered this, you better know what the hell you are doing. you better be carrying any better be smart. the art of anticipation is a lost art, and american society today. learn how to anticipate.
that was another key my brothers gave me. >> what inspired me to do what i did is that i had a lot of training in the military service. i was the leader with a lot and had not had any combat training before, went into normandy, and when we got into this situation in the hedgerows, wknocked out three machine-gun nests and then we knocked out a mortar position. the next day, i was the leader of my squad, and i knew it number-one thing was, i could smell the germans. had a platoon leader who had just come over from fort benning georgia.
he was a lieutenant. he tell meo go out and go into this town. my platoon leader tell me to take the squad out, and i started to lead the squad. he said sgt, we don't do it that way. he said, you send out two of your scouts, and i am going to follow them, and then you bring the squad behind them. i said, that is not the right way to do it. my squad was not that well trained. i said well, that is why i do it. he said, this is a direct order. so they go out in germany.
they got pinned down by at tank sitting in a little wn out there across an alley. they saw these guys coming across the field so they started firing on them. they got into a hole in could not get out. so i got aazooka and ended at the tank. hit the tank and some soft spot. i knew where to shoot at. he had never shot the bazooka before. so that was his first shot and it hit that soft spot and the germans came out of that tank like flies. pretty soon we went over and captured the tank. we captured the tank and then i came back and said lieutenant, it is ok to come out now.
and he did, and he apologized to me. he said i will never tell you how to run your squad again. [applause] >> the one thing that i learned in the military, and you learn this in life, too. we are not all born equal. we are just not. you look around you and you see people bigger, faster, smarter, stronger, they have better here than you have. -- better hair. we are simply not all born equal. but there is one wayand i think this is the key to success in life and what we try to teach in our program, that we are all born equal. that is in terms of courage.
each of us can have all the courage you want. you cannot use it up. it is the key to success in life. it produces great success from those among us who were not given credibility and did not have great opportunities in their life. to me, courage was a very important thing. where does it come from? what allows you to use courage on the battlefield or anywhere else? the answer is simply fade. i have never seen anything else to explain what people do in combat or in the classroom or anywhere else. i believe there is something to work dying for, something worth somewhere above and beyond the personhat you a that is more important than that particular moment. i can explain my faith. i would not do it for anyone
else, but fates the foundation of courage. courage is the key to success in life. i have said this before, and i have been almost get a bunch of times, but i was never afraid. they was a substitute for fear. it gave me -- face was a substitute for fear. allow me to do things at otherwise would not have been possle. faith is the source of everything and anything that i ever did in combat. [applause] >> pat is right. as i said earlier, believe in god or your supreme being or whoever you believe in. he is right. i don't think a day goes by without communicating with the big guy to watch over me.
i even asked him to help me on the golf course, but he has been letting me down. [laughter] >> jay had his family that he was afraid of. the marines gave him courage for that. one of the things i got asked the most was, didn't you have fear? i did have fear, but it was fear of making a bad decision that calls a blind man to die or some of the men not -- that caused one of my men to die or some of the men i was supporting. i was more afraid of making a bad decision. that is more important when you are doing those things, in my judgment. we should have fear you are going to cause a problem for your troops.
>> i have two bullets i fail to pass on to you. if you fall or you fail, it is not the end the world. i was over in new mexico talking to some of the students. some of them had blown an algebra class. there's just no way that they could get through it, and they were ready to quit school. don't ever quit. get into some other general map or something. we are not all scientists. i was not worth a darn in math. when i started taking calculus and geometry, i said that's it. i've got to go into another field. but don't ever be afraid, if you fall down and failed, get back up. don't be afraid, as pat put it
very well, lean on your face. get back on your feet and keep going forward -- lien on ur faith. if you make a mistake, admit. if you truly kno that you made a mistake, don't ever hesitate to say i made a mistake. allied just get you deeper -- a lie just did you deeper into your inner soul [applause] . >> it pains me to do this, because i think that given the opportunity, we could see here for hours upon hours. but we are out of time. so here is what we are going to do. i know that part of the program, the malick honor, is bringing
recipients into classrooms viaskype or may be asking questions. those of you still have questions, have your teachers get in contact with me. we will get those questions answered. i don't want you to leave here feeling we he had a question has been unanswered. i apologize tremendously. i would also like to ask, at the beginning of the talk today, colonel vargas was mention the keys that he was given. in closing, i would ask that each of our panelists give us one key, giving your experience, your help -- carroll wisdom and courage, if you had just one key to pass on to our audience today as a final word, what would that be? >> you hea me say earlier, believe in yourself and be yourself. it is very important to be yourself.
i have seen great students trying to guess like those guys whose pants are nearly falling off. the yourself and believe in yourself. always believe iyourself. that is my advice. >> if i did not have faith, i would not have been able to do what i did. i left it in god's hands. i figured that i had to do this because it had to be done. i had no control over when i was going to die or anything like this. i was fighting to live. so i never worried about dying, but i was rlly scared all the time. i was fighting to live. i was not fighting to die. and i put my faith in god, and somehow it worked, and am
still here today. and i still have my faith in god and in my children and in my grandchildren. i think they should know that the great courage in the best thing you can do in your lifetime is to have faith. i did not set out to be a hero or anything. i had no idea was ever going to get a medal of honor. i read about in the stars and stripes. that is how i found out i was getting a medal of honor. i said i was reporting back to duty. he said you were supposed to be back in the state's coming getting the medal of honor from the president. i said yes, i read about it in the stars and stripes. that is how i found out about it. it is a great thing to have faith.
>> it takes my friend a while to get his thoughts together, so i will go before him. the thing i would leave with all of you, and i want you to go to the program. faith, sacrifice, love in action. the key to happiness in life, and a hero cannot separate business from heroes. celebrities are not heroes. ok around you and realize how blessed you are to be an american, how extraordinary it is. the other thing i would ask you to do, and we are all part of this. america has no kings, no queens,
no dukes and duchesses and all that sff. but we do have a nobility in america. america's and ability is called veterans. those of us who are part of america's nobility are required to pass on to the younger people, in terms of being a bad example, a way around the obstacles that we faced in life. i was on the golf course with my friend at the other day and he brout out a tape major that measures how close you are to the tent -- brought out a tape measure. he said here is your life span, and here is where you are. so here is your life span, and you guys are right here. it's not as well be fther ahead when you get to where i am then you are today. be further ahead when you get here than you were when you were
right here. that is the thing we try to do for this program that we have. we are living our lives over again through you, and trying to keep you from making the same stupid mistakes that weade as we struggled through our lives. you are so blessed to be an american, and that is very important. [applause] >> he referred to me as his son gary usually he says illegitimate son. the one thing i would tell each of you, if i was to only give you one thing, is to have self- respect. respect yourself, and you will respect others. when you look in the mirror in the morning, be happy with what you see.
it cannot change it much, but in our country we have lost a lot of civity, and i would like to see that come back. self-respect is the key to that, i think. those of you that e in school now, i would encourage all of you to go out and seek your education, no matter how long it takes. keep going to school. [applause] >> i have one last thing to say to you. you all live in the greatest untry ever. this country has freed more people since world war ii than any of all the other nations combined. this is an actual fact. you can look it up in the history books and you can find
out that countries that we fought against or liberated became democracies. germany is a democracy. france is a decracy. italy is a democracy, freedom from fascism. japan is a demracy with freedom from imperialism. the biggest responsibility for their freedoms has been the united states of america. you can be so proud of your country. we hope you will continue to be proud of it because you will do the same things that we did. [applause] >> although most of us in the audience will never be an exact science dirk dick circumstances that our panelists were, there
will be challenging moments in your life, maybe even terrifying moments and things like your courage and integrity and commitment to your community are going to be tested. i want to say thank you to our panelists today for giving us a great example of how we should respond [applause] . -- of how we should respond. [applause] i am going to ask that our students remain seated. and she will come up and dismiss everyone. our guests are going upstairs to
sign some books. thank you very much and have a great day. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> an event with a number of medal of honor recipients from other this year. now, we go live to the presidential medal of freedom ceremony. among those receiving a medal this year, bob dylan, secretary
they describe a lawmaker who approved lethal action without hand wringing. our first call from vienna, virginia. what do you think about the president's counterterrorism strategy? caller: i think it's a very good idea. if we had thought about this, we wouldn't have sent our sons and daughters to harm's way. if you don't know your enemies, you don't know who you're fighting.
you could be talking to somebody and tomorrow you could be killing them. here we are with all this kind of thing. host: let's look at comments come into our facebook peage, chime in by looking for c-span. host: and, an independent caller. caller: i think it's ok to run this program as long as every other country in the world can do the same thing.
there's a lawsuit against the ndaa right now, the defense authorization act and it's bizarre. i can't believe people who are accepting this. he's already killed three american citizens. and no one has said much at all except the progressives. i think it's disgusting. host: do you think the president acted the way you thought he would before he went into office? has he surprised you? caller: yeah, he's like bush on steroids in some cases. he's just smarter than bush and more charming. host: a democratic call for the alexandria, virginia. caller: can you hear me ok? host: we can. caller: these people have been identified by reliable sources as people who are a threat to the country.
they could blow up an airplane or destroy a city before we do something? republicans and other people who have been down on the president because he leads the country in forthright manner should take notice. if you have -- you have somebody who will protect the country by doing whatever he has to do in order to do that. host: "the new york times" has a section of this piece about, maintaining my options. a phalanx of retired generals and admirals stood behind mr. obama.
host: sk, mark, a republican. caller: it looks like it's time to puff the magic -- host: you don't need to use language like that, it's not appropriate for this program. next caller. caller: i think this is not onlyry dick clouse but horrible. there's no way i'll vote for obama again. i actually agree with dick cheney that the president owes bush an apology. all of his rhetoric,
campaigning in 2008, was just talk. imagine only obamabot could find an excuse for him. i don't believe he's an expert in constitutional law. i've never been so disappointed in my life in a president with the way he's doing his foreign policy and doing this in my name, we don't even know who he's killing. host: what do you do as a democrat when it comes time to vote? caller: i'll go for green or not vote or a write-in, waste my vote because a third party won't make it, but i will not vote for this man. host: good early morning to you, jake, on our republican line. caller: it's actually the democrats' line unfortunately-. but i don't want to get into any kind of political part of it. what i'm really worried about is some of the cyberthreats and some of the small technical
threats like people are building little machines, advancing in ways -- terrorists are advancing in ways right now that our political bickering back and forth is surpassing. so as a country, we all need to get together around the people who are actually getting something done and you might, you know, want to argue about who is getting something done or who is not, the proof of the matter is, who has been trying? obama, he's been trying. he's been getting kicked out every time. it's been very, you know, widely known across the world that this is happening. so you said today, this morning, and say to yourself, are you going to believe it or not? denial is not the way to go right now. it's time to take action and it's time to vote. it's going to be our place and mind you, i do believe that,
you know, we're going to have to either regret what we do or not. so take the time and think about it, vote with the people who are doing stuff and you know, amen. have a good morning. host: let's hear comments made by john brennan as the president's top counterterrorism advisor in this frame. [video clip] >> given the -- gaven the stakes involved, we consider the information available to us carefully and responsibly. we review the most up-to-date intelligence drawing on the full range of our intelligence capabilities and we do what sound intelligence demands. we challenge it. we question it. including any assumptions on which it might be based. if we want to know more, we may ask the intelligence community to go back and collect additional intelligence or refine its analysis so a more
informed decision can be made. we listen to departments and agencies across our national security team. we don't just hear differing views, we ask for them and encourage them. we discuss, we debate, we disagree. we consider the advantages and disadvantages of taking act. we also carefully consider the cost of inaction and whether a decision not to carry out a strike could allow a -- could allow attacks to proceed and potentially kill scores of innocents. nor do we limit ourselves narrowly to counterterrorism considerations. we consider the broadest action including the affect on other couldn't res. host: that was john brennan, speaking at the woodrow wilson center a couple of months ago in late april. lisa is an independent call for the vermont. what do you think about president obama's counterterrorism strategy. caller: well, he walked into a
mess. after two republicans in office. there's so much more in the background that we don't know and i think he's doing an excellent job, personally. i mean, we just hear little bits and pieces and draw conclusions. but honestly, we don't know the whole thing. we don't know what's going on. and i mean, honestly, i think he's doing an excellent job. host: baltimore, maryland, william on our democrats' line. caller: hi. this is my first time calling in. i would like to voice an opinion, too, if i may. my point is that, would you rather have 20 people running around who are trained assassins to take out just the enemy, or 500 people running around dropping bombs killing 100,000 people? it was used in vietnam, it was very successful. ok.
my next question is, i just got a letter from a church, i'm not going to say which one, saying that obama is the fore runner of the antichrist. can you believe this? that means that mitt romney must be the antichrist because they're telling me to vote for mitt romney. now my next comment is, please let me finish this, please i beg of you, why on the earth would anybody vote for a man who has already lied, postponed filing his taxes because he knows he's not paying taxes, he's cheating, ok, turns around, tells people that he's all this and he's created jobs, he hasn't created nothing. host: let's go on to a comment on twitter. president obama's counterterrorism strategy, whether or not you agree or disagree.
take our word for it, these are the guys that made the case for weapons of mass destruction. i mean, you know, with the national defense authorization act that obama signed on new year's eve, they could say any american, you know, on u.s. soil, can be deemed a terror suspect and these guys will say, take our word for it and it's ok to kill them. i take issue with the caller earlier who said that the only ones criticizing this, or bothered by this, are the progressives. i'd like to point people in the direction of ron paul's group. people that are actually looking at the constitution and outraged at this. but i believe the reason why we've gotten to this point is because of left cover that is allowed for ouh because ma and his administration to do, put bush on steroids, act like bush
on steroids as far as these kinds of actions. if it was a republican, doing all this, the anti-war people, the -- would be out calling for impeachment. but yet, to this very day, they have not. it's something that professor -- that a professor called manufactured dissent. there are two national anti-war organizations that have resolutions calling for obama's impeachment for the same crimes that bush did. host: we'll leave it there and look at more of "the new york times's" story.
>> and on the democrat line. caller: i love c-span and all the flavors that come into, i watch c-span all the tile. i think bush and cheney ought to fly over that europe. i think there are some judges over there that want to talk about war crimes. and like this last call kaer, if he thinks that obama -- >> from today's "washington journal" back live to the white house, president obama and first lady michelle obama presenting the presidential medal of freedom to 13 recipients. [applause]
with all of you to present this year's medal of freedom. and i have to say, just looking around the room, this is a packed house. which is a testament to how cool this group is. everybody wanted to check them out. this is the highest civilian honor this country can bestow. which is ironic because nobody sets out to win it. no one ever picks up a guitar or fights a disease or starts a movement thinking, you know what, if i keep this up in 2012, i could get a medal in the white house from a guy named barack obama. that wasn't in the plan. but that's exactly what make this is award so special. every one of today's honorees is blessed with an
extraordinary amount of talent. all of them are driven. but, you know, we could fill this room many times over with people who are talented and driven. what sets these men and women apart is the incredible impact they have had on so many people. not in short, blinding bursts, but settled over the course of a lifetime. together, the hon juror -- the honorees on this stage and the ones who couldn't be here have moved us with their words, have inspired us with their actions. they've enriched our lives and changed our lives for the better. some of them are household names, others have labored quietly out of the public eye. most of them may never fully appreciate the difference they've made or the influence they've had, but that's where our job comes in. it's our job to help let them
know how extraordinary their impact has been on our lives. so today, we present this amazing group with one more accolade for a life well led. that's the presidential medal of freedom. so i'm going to take an opportunity, i hope you guys don't mind, to brag about each of you. starting with madeleine albright. usually madeleine does the talking. once in a while she lets her jewelly do the talking. when saddam called her a -- when saddam hussein called her a snake, she wore a serpent on her lapel the next time she visited baghdad. when slobodan milosevic referred to her as a goat, a new pin appeared in her collection. as the first woman to serve as america's top diplomat, her courage and toughness helped
bring peace to the balkans and paved the way for progress in some of the most unstable quarters of the world. as an immigrant herself, granddaughter of holocaust victims who fled her native scheck slovakia as a child, madeleine brought -- czechoslovakia as a child, madeleine brought a ewe meek perspective. once at a naturalization ceremony, an ethiopian said, only in america can a refugee meet the secretary of state. she replied, only in america can a refugee become the secretary of state. we are extraordinarily honored to have madeleine here. i think it's fair to say i speak for one of your successors who is so appreciative of the work you did and the path you laid. it was a scorching hot day in 1963 and mississippi was on the verge of a massacre.
the funeral process fored me ger evers had disbanded and a group of people were slowing stones at police officers. a man in shirt sleeves walked toward the prozesters, hands raised, and convinced the protesters to go home peacefully. he was the face of justice in the south and proof that the federal government was listening. over the years, john doar escorted james meredith to the university of mississippi. he walked alongside the selma to montgomery march he laid the groundwork for the civil rights act of 1964 and the voting rights act of 1965. in the words of john lewis, he gave civil rights workers a reason not to give up on those in power. and he did it by never giving up on them. and i think it's fair to say i might not be here had it not
been for his work. bob dylan started out singing other people's songs, but as he said, there came a point where i had to write what i wanted to say because what i wanted to say, nobody else was writing. born in minnesota a town, he says, where you couldn't be a rebel, it was too cold. bob moved to new york at age 19. by the time he was 23, bob's voice, with its weight, its unique, gravelly power was redefining not just what music sounded like but the message it carried and the way it made people feel. today, everybody from bruce springsteen to u2 owes him a debt of fwrattude. there's not a bigger giant in the history of american music. all these years later, he's still chasing that sound, still searching for a little bit of truth and i have to say that i
am a really big fan. in the 1960's, more than two million people died from smallpox every year. just over a decade later, that number was zero. two million to zero. thanks in farther tissue part to dr. bill foege. as a young medical missionary in nigeria, he helped develop a vaccination strategy used to eliminate smallpox from the face of the earth. when that war was won, he moved on to other diseases, always trying to figure out what works. in one remote nigerian village, after vaccinating 2,000 people in a single day, he asked ethe chief how did he get so many people to show up? he said, i told them to come see the tallest man in the
world. today, that really tall -- the world owes that really tall man a great debt of gratitude. on the morning that john glenn blasted off into space, america stood still. for half an hour, the phones stopped ringing in chicago police headquarters. new york subway drivers offered a play-by-play account other the loud speakers. president kennedy interrupted a breakfast with congressional leaders and joined 100 million tv viewers to hear the famous words, god speed, john gleen. -- john glenn. the first american to orbit the earth. john glenn became a hero in every sense of the word. but he didn't stop there serving his country. as a senator, he found new ways to make a difference. on his second trip into space at age 77, he dephied the odds once again. -- defied the odds once again. he reminds everybody, don't
tell people he lived a historic life, don't put it in the past tense. he's still got a lot going on. judge hirabayashi, as a student at the university washington, gordon was one of only three japanese americans to defy the executive order that forced thousands of families to leave their homes, their jobs, and their civil rights behind and move to interment camps in world war ii he took his case to the supreme court and he lost. it would be another 40 years before that decision was reversed, giving asian americans everywhere a small measure of justice. in gordon's words, it takes a crisis to tell us that unless citizens are willing to stand up for the constitution, it's not worth the paper it's written on. this country is better off because of citizens like him
who are willing to stand up. similarly, when cesar chavez sent do -- sat do lohrs rehuerta down at his kitchen table and told her they should start a union, she thought he was joking. he was a single mother of seven children, so she didn't have a lot of time. but she remembered seeing children come to school hungry and without shoes so in the end she agreed and workers everywhere are glad she did. without any negotiating experience, she helped lead a worldwide grape boycott that forced growers to agree to some of the cupry's first farmworker contracts. ever since, she's fought to give more people a seat at the table. don't wait to be invited, she says. step in there. and on a personal note, do lohrs rewas very gracious, when i told her i had stolen her slow began,, yes we can,
knowing her, i'm pleased she let me off easy because do lohrs redoes not play. -- because do lohrs redoes not play. for young, jan karski's students knew he was a great professor but didn't know she was a hero. he served as a courier for the polish resistance in the darkest days of world war ii. before one strip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him jews were being murdered on a massive scale and smuggled him into the warsaw ghetto and a polish death camp to see for himself. he took that information to president franklin roosevelt, giving one of the first accounts of the holocaust, and imploring the world to take action. it was decades before jan was ready to tell his story.
by then, he said, i don't need courage anymore so i teach compassion. growing up in georgia, in late 1800's, juliette gordon low was not exactly typical. she flew airplanes. she went swimming. she experimenting with electricity for fun. and she recognized early on that in order to keep up with the changing times, women would have to be prepared. so at age 52, after meeting the founder of the boy scouts in england, she came home and called her cousin and said, i've got something for the girls of is a va na and all the world -- of savanna and all the world and we're going to start it tonight. 60 years later, millions of girls have gained confidence through the organization she
founded. including astronauts and my own secretary of state. from the very begin, they included all races and abilities, just the way juliette would have wanted it. toni morrison, as a -- an employee at a publishing company by day, she would write at night. with her kids pulling her hair and jewelry. once a baby spit up on her tablet and she wrote around it. toni morrison's prose brings us that kind of moral and emotional intensity that few writers ever attempt. "song of solomon," to "beloved" she reaches us deeply using a ten that's lyrical, precise, distinct and inclusive. she believes that language arcs
toward the place where meaning might lie. the rest of us are lucky to be following along for the ride. during oral argument justice john paul stevens would often begin with a polite, may i interrupt? or may i ask a question? you imagine the lawyers would say ok. after which he would just as politely force the lawyers to quit dancing around and focus on the major part os they have case. he is the third longest serving justice on the supreme court. justice stevens supplied throughout his career his clear and fwraceful manner to the defense of individual rights and the rule of law, favoring a pragmatic solution other an ideological one. ever humble, he would happily comply when unsuspecting
tourists asked him to take their picture in front of the court and at his vacation home in florida, he was john from arlington, better known for his world class bridge game than his world-changing judicial opinions. even in his final difes the bench, he insisted he was still learning on the job. but in the end, we are the ones who have learned from him. when a doctor first told pat summitt she suffered dementia, she almost punched him. when a second doctor advised her to retire, she responded, do you know who you're dealing with here? obviously they did not. obviously they did not. as pat said, i can fix a tractor, plow a field, chop tobacco, fire a barn and call the cows but what i'm really known for is winning. in 38 years at tennessee she racked up eight national champ p championships, more than 1,000 wins, understand, this is
more than any college coach, male or female, in the history of the ncaa. and more importantly, every player that went through her program has either graduated or is on her way to a degree. that's why anybody who feels sorry for pat will find themselves on the receiving end of that famous glare or she might punch you. [laughter] she's still getting up every day and doing what she does best which is teaching. the players, she says, are my best medicine. our final honoree is not here. shimon peres is the president of israel who has done more for the cause of peace in the middle east than just about anybody alive. i'll be posting president peres for a dinner here at the white house next month and will be presenting him with his medal and honoring hi his incredible contribution to the state of israel and the world at that time. so i'm looking forward to welcoming him and if it's already with you, i will say my
best lines about him for that occasion. so these are the recipients of the 2012 medals of freedom. and just on a personal note, i had a chance to see everybody in the back. what's wonderful about these events for me is so many of these people are my heroes individually. you know, i know how they impacted my life. i remember reading "song of solomon" when i was a kid and not just trying to figure out how to write but also how to be and how to think. and i remember in college listening to bob dylan and my world opening up because he captured something that -- about this country that was so vital. and i think about dolores
huerta, reading about her when i was starting off as an organizer. everybody on this stage has marked my life in profound ways and i was telling somebody like pat summitt, when i think about my two daughters, who are tall and gifted, and knowing that because of folks like coach summitt, they're standing up straight and diving after loose balls and feeling confident and strong. then i understand the impact these people have had extends beyond me. it will continue for generations to come. what an extraordinary honor to be able to say thank you to all of them for the great work that they have done on behalf of this country and on behalf of the world. so, it is now my great honor to present them with a small token of our appreciation.
[applause] >> presidential medal of freedom citations. madeleine albright. madeleine albright broke barriers and left be a indelible mark on the world as the first female secretary of state in the united states history. through her consummate diplomacy and steadfast democratic ideals, secretarial bright advanced peace in the middle east, nuclear arms control, justice in the balkans and human rights around the world. with unwavering leadership and continued engagement with the global community, she continues her noble pursuit of freedom and dignity for all people.
>> [inaudible]. [applause] >> john doar, as african-americans stroveg for justice, john doar led federal efforts to defend quality and enforce civil rights. risking his life to confront injustices around him, he prevented a violent riot, obtained convictions for the killing of civil rights activists and stood by the first african-american student at the university of mississippi during his first day of class. during pivotal moments and in the troubled times of the watergate scandal, john doar fought to protect the core values of liberty, equality and democracy that have made america a leader among nations.
melinda gates foundation, he has taken on humanity's most intractable public health challenges from infectious diseases to child survival and development. william foege has driven decades of progress to safeguard the well-being of all and has inspired a generation of leaders in the fight for a healthier world. [applause] >> john glenn. john glenn has set an example through his service to our nation. as a marine corps pilot in the
first american to orbit the earth, he sparked our passions for ingenuity and adventure and lifted humanity's ambitions into the expanses of space. in the united states senate, he worked tirelessly to ensure all americans had the opportunity to reach for a limitless dream. whether by advancing legislation to limit the spread of nuclear weapons, or by becoming the oldest person ever to visit space, john glenn's example has moved us all to look to new horizons with drive and optimism. [applause] >> susan carnahan, accepting on behalf of her husband, gordon
hirabayashi. in his open defines of discrimination against japanese americans during world war ii, gordon hirabayashi demanded our nation live up to its founding principles. in prison for ignoring curfew and refusing to register for internment camp it's, he took his case to the supreme court which ruled against him in 1943. refusing to abandon his belief in an american, heursued justice until his conviction was overturned in 1987. his legacy reminds us that patriotism is rooted not in ethnicity but in our shared ideals and his example will forever call on us to defend the liberty of all our citizens. [applause]
>> dolores huerta. one of america's great labor and civil rights icons, dolores huerta has devoted her life to advocating for marginalized communities. alongside scissor chavez, she co-founded the united farmer workers of america and fought to secure basic rights for migrant workers and their families. helping safe thousands from neglect and abuse. dolores huerta has never lost faith in the power of community organizing and through the dolores huerta foundation, she continues to train and mentor new activists to walk the streets into history. [applause]
>> adam daniel roadfeld, foreign polish-born minister accepting on behalf of jan karski. as a young officer in the polish underground, jan karski was among the first to relate accounts of the holocaust to the world. a witness to atrocity in the warsaw ghetto, he repeatedly crossed enemy lines to document the face of genocide and courageously voiced tragic truths truths all the way to president roosevelt. he illuminated one of the darkest chapters of his history in -- and his intervention on behalf of the innocent will never be forgotten. [applause]
>> richard flats accepting on behalf of he's great aunt, juliette gordon low. an artist, athlete and trail blazer for america's daughters, juliette gordon low founded an organization to teach young women self-reliance and resourcefulness. a century later during the year of the girl, the girl scouts more than three million members are leaders in their communities and translating new skills into successful careers. americans of all backgrounds continue to draw inspiration from juliette gordon low's remarkable vision and we celebrate her dedication to empowering girls everywhere. [applause]
>> toni morrison. the first african-american woman to win a nobel prize, toni morrison is one of our nation's most distinguished story tellers. she has captivated readers through lyrical pros that depicts the plecksities of a people and challenges our concepts of race and gender. her works are hallucinatemarks of the american literary tradition and the united states proudly honors her for strengthening the character of our union. [applause]
>> john paul stevens. from the navy to the bench, john paul stevens has devoted himself to service to our nation. after earning a bronze star in world war ii, stevens returned home to pursue a career in law. as an attorney he became a leading practitioner of antitrust law and as a supreme court justice he dedicated his long and distinguished tenure to applying our constitution with fidelity and independence. his integrity, humility and steadfast commitment to the rule of law have fortified the noble vision of our nation's founders.
[applause] >> pat summitt. pat summitt is an unparalleled figure in collegiate sports. over 38 seasons, she proudly led the university of tennessee lady volunteers to 32 s.e.c. tournament and regular season championships and eight national titles. becoming the all-time winningest coach in ncaa basketball history. on the court, coach summitt inspired young women across our country to shoot even higher in
pursuit of their dreams. off the court she has inspired us all by turning her personal struggle into a public campaign to combat alzheimer's disease. pat pat summitt's strength and character exemplify all that is best about athletics in america. [applause] >> bob dylan. >> come on, bob. >> a modern day trube door, bob dylan established himself as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. the rich poetry of his lyrics
opened up new possibilities for popular song and inspired generations. his melodies have brought ancient traditions into the modern age. more than 50 years after his career began, bob dylan remains an eminent voice in our national conversation and around the world. [applause] >> could everybody please stand and give a rousing applause to our medal of freedom winners. [cheers and applause] you don't have to stand.
>> well, we could not be prouder of all of them. we could not be more grateful to all of them. you have had an impact on all of us. and i know that you will continue to have an impact on all of us. so, thank you for being here, thank you for putting yourself through white house ceremonies which are always full of all kinds of protocol call. fortunately we also have a reception afterwards. i hear the food around here is
pretty good. so, i look forward to all of you having a chance to stay and mingle and, again, thank you again to all of you. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain in your seats until the president and the medal of freedom recipients have departed.
>> the road to the white house continues today with a primary contest in texas. it's widely expected that republican frontrunner mitt romney will win tonight's election in the lone star state. keep it on c-span and log onto c-span.org for results and reaction. and should mr. romney win tonight, he will go over the top of the required number of delegates. he begins the day with 1,084 he needs 1,144. texas victory will provide 152 delegates. >> write is a transactional process. it assumes reading. it goes back to that question about, you know, a tree falling in the forest, if there's no one there to hear it. you know, if you've written a really wonderful novel, then one of the parts of the process is that you want readers to be enlarged and enriched by it and you have to pull on everything at your disposal to do that. >> author and pulitzer
prize-winning columnist will talk about her perspectives on writing and life plus her guide to social policy and the politics that make it happen. live sunday on in depth. her latest rumination on life is, lots of candles, plenty of cake. and she will be ready for her calls, tweets and emails at noon eastern on c-span 2. >> about 42,000 military veterans with limb loss receive care from the v.a. and in fiscal year 2011, the v.a. performed amputations on more than 6,000 veterans. earlier this month on capitol hill, the house veterans affairs subcommittee on health examined the quality of health care service provided for veterans with amputations and prosthetics and proposed changes in procurement and management services. witnesses included veterans with prosthetics, officials from the u.s. department of veterans affairs, and representatives from the wounded warrior project and the paralyzed veterans of america. this hear something about three hours.
>> optimizing care for veterans with prosthetics. our nation's commitment to restoring the capabilities of disabled veterans strugglingling with devastating combat wounds resulting in the loss of limb began with the civil war. restoring these veterans to wholeness was a core impetus behind the creation of the department of veteran affairs and then now it continues to play a vital role in the department's mission. prosthetic technology and v.a. care have come a long way from the civil war era. wooden peg legs and simple hooks. following world war ii, 1945, veterans dissatisfied with the quality of v.a. prosthetic care stormed the capitol in protest. congress responded by providing the v.a. with increased flexibility for prosthetic operations and launching federal research into the development of new mobility and assistive devices. with these reforms, v.a. led the way in prosthetic care and
research. guided by dedicated professionals both inside and outside the department who work tirelessly to provide veterans with the quality care they earned and they so much deserve. as a result, the model of v.a. care today for today's veterans includes leading-edge artificial limbs and improves serviced to help them regain mobility and achieve maximum independence. still, the magnitude of the heartbreaking injuries sustained by service members and veterans returning home from military service from iraq and afghanistan find the v.a. struggling to keep pace with the rising demands of younger and more active veterans with amputations. prosthetic care is unlike any other care provided by the department. prosthetic devices, particularly prosthetic limbs, quite literally become a part of their owner. requiring the integration of body, mind and machine.
the goal is not just to teach ampities to walk or use an artificial arm or hand, but to provide multidisciplinary continuing care to maintain long-term and lifetime functioning and quality of life. which is why i'm troubled by the department's proposed changes to prosthetic procurement policies and procedures. the forthcoming reforms will, among other things, take prosthetic purchasing authority from prosthetic providers and transfer them to the contracting officers. this is alarming to me as we will hear soon, it is also alarming to many of today's witnesses. i would like to read a quote from captain jonathan pruden, a wounded warrior himself, who states in his testimony, that we see no prospect that this planned change in prosthetics procurement holds any promise for improving services to the
warrior. instead almost certainly threatens greater delay in v.a.'s ability to provide severely wounded warriors needed prosthetic devices and heightens the risk that a fiscal judgment will override a clinical one. i think that the members of this committee agree, along with many of nut audience this morning, that we cannot allow this to happen and this morning we will look to the department for assurance that it won't happen. it is nothing short of inspiring to see how far modern technology and most importantly the spirit, courage and resolve of our veterans themselves has come in resupporting mobility, dignity and hope to our nation's heroes. and they are our heroes and this nation owes them this debt of gratitude to make sure our veterans have exactly what they need to survive, to thrive and to have a quality of life. it is vital that we set v.a. prosthetic care on a course that matches the courage and
bravery of the men and women who serve our nation in uniform. again, i thank all of you for joining us this morning. i now recognize our ranking member, mr. michaud, for any remarks he might have. >> thank you very much, madam chair. i would like to thank everyone for attending this very important hearing we're having today. the purpose of today's hearing is to look closely at v.a.'s prosthetic and aid services and to examine, number one, demand for prosthetic services, number two, quality of care and access issues, three, the impact of ongoing procurement reforms, and, four, if current acquisition and management policies are sufficient. as the three office of inspector general reports have shown, there are numerous concerns including the frequency of overpayment in the nearly a quarter of the transactions, totaling over
$2.2 million in fiscal year 2010. the absence of negotiations, price guidance and other controls and the limited information to access if current prosthetic limb fabcation and acquisition practices are effective. i've said it on this committee before but what seems to be a case that there is little accountability in management and once again procurement and -- procedures and policies were not in place or not followed in managing nearly $2 billion worth of prosthetics and sensor aids. the v.a. in the last year's budget submission claims that $355 million in savings in fiscal year 2012 and 2013 due to acquisitions improvements. but if the v.a. can't follow its own policies and
procedures, how much faith can we have in the claim of acquisition savings? i hope the v.a. can help us understand today what accountability we should expect and to make certain that the v.a. does not continue to overpay for prosthetics in the future. that taxpayers and veterans receive the best value for their devices. and for management to ensure that the prosthetics and sensor aid services is fully meeting veterans' needs. finally, it has come to my attention that v.a. has proposed changes in the procurement of prosthetics and that there is a high degree of concern amongst some of our witnesses today as to the effectiveness of these changes. i look forward to hearing from the v.a. on these issues as well. i'd like to thank all of the panelists for coming today and want to thank those of our
panelists who are veterans for your service for this great nation of ours. i am committed to working with all of you to ensure that our wounded veterans, those who have served honorably and made such great sacrifices, are able to go about their lives more comfort which will with these devices and with the best support and services from the v.a. possible. so i want to thank you once again for coming today. want to thank you very much, madam chair, for having this very important hearing. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. michaud. i'd like to now invite our fist panel to the table. joining us this morning are john register and jim mire. mr. register is a veteran of
operations desert shield and desert storm and a world class athlete, winning nine gold medals in the army's armed services competition. in 1994 john suffered an injury that led to the amputation of his left leg. undaunted and with the aid of a prosthetic, john went on to win a silver medal in the 2000 paralympic games where he set the american long jump record with a distance of 5.41 meters. he now works for the united states olympic committee where he manages the paralympic academy youth outreach program and the paralympic military program. we also have the privilege of being joined by mr. jim meyer. he served as an infrantryman in the united states army during the vietnam war. he is a combat disabled veteran and a bilateral below the knee amp tee. after serving so honorably in combat, mr. meyer has devoted his life and career to assisting his fellow veterans.
working for 27 years with v.a. and 12 with our veterans service organizations. perhaps most notably he has also spent 21 years as an amp tee peer visitor and mentor at v.a. and the walter reed medical center. and now where he's known as the milk shake man. gentlemen, thank you both so much for your service to our nation and for your continued service to your fellow veterans, through your many worthy endeavors today. both of you are inspiring to all of us and it's an honor to have you with us today. i very much look forward to hearing to your testimony. mr. register, you may proceed. >> thank you very much. and, ranking member michaud, thank you, and members of the subcommittee, and i know the milk shake man. thank you for this opportunity to testify on the ability of
the department of veterans affairs to deliver state-of-the-art care to veterans with weretations and today i'm testifying on behalf of myself and an organization, the national association of advancement of or thatics and prosthetics, the naaop,. i served in desert shield, desert storm, and my injury happened may 17, 1994. so my anniversary, 18th anniversary, is actually tomorrow. i was over at the pentagon where a friend of mine actually found photos of the actual accident. so i just have them in my bag. i'm kind of stretching out a little bit right now, seeing those photos again. but it's remarkable about the prosthetic care that's come afterwards and that's what i'm going to talk a little bit about today. i did go back after my injury and went to the paralympic games in 2000, winning the silver medal in the paralympic
games. i currently now live in colorado springs and i began my initial care at the amputee clinic in denver, v.a., hospital and was referred to a local prosthetics in colorado springs for my primary prosthetic care. i sought out this process because of two reasons. they were close to my home and they understood the high level of activity that i am accustomed to. this was done in no way to disparage the care that i received at the denver v.a. in fact, when i first was an amputee i came to walter reed and also the v.a. hospital here in the capital region and had outstanding care. in my experience i've always been treated with dignity and respect, at the three v.a. hospitals i've been fortunate enough to work with. finding a local process is pretty typical. i understand this has decreased in the past few years as the v.a. has invested their internal capacity to their
internal capacity to fit and fabricate limb prosthesis. i developed a close working relationship with my local prosthetic doctor over the years and would like to continue to see him. the v.a. recognizes and requires agencies. my local office in town is seven minutes from my house and he has signed a v.a. contract to provide that care and so -- the ongoing care i receive at my contract's was high quality and very convenient. created little disruption from my current job, my family and my lifestyle. while i developed a new prosthetic that's coming out, i began to be interested in this new technology, and the v.a. hospital in denver, when i went to go see them for the consult, said i would have to come there in order to get this limb fitted. and i didn't realize i had had a choice in the matter, believing the new technology would meet my needs and increase my quality of life, i agreed and began to drive 70
miles each way to receive that prosthetic care. and i could have just easily gone down seven minutes from my home to get that care done. and it was also late that are i realized after my fourth or fifth visit that i could be reimbursed for gas mileage. i began tweeting that out as well on my social networking to my v.a. vets. i traveled to denver numerous times in the fit prague sess before i received my new limb which i'm wearing today. every time i need adjustments or servicing of the pros thet , i must take the better part of my day off of work, drive a significant amount of distance and obtain my v.a. care at the denver v.a. great care there, not disparaging that, just a bit of an inconvenience. i have no complaints about the prosthetic care i received. so i consider myself to be very fortunate, where i am vulnerable, i'm not vulnerable and uneducated about the process but i worry about the
veterans who are not in that position, they simply accept what they're told about the care and the options. veterans i think just need to know some of the rights they have. they should have a choice in prangtigser, technical options and a choice to seek a second option when it's desired by a patient. passing legislation like the injury amputee veterans bill of rights i think is critical and i reviewed three reports recently issued by the office of the inspector general and have some general observations to offer this kevment first is, of the $1.8 billion spent by v.a. on prosthetics in f.y. 2010, only 3% was spent on limbless. and this is a relatively small portion of dollars spent by the v.a. on a broader category of prosthetics. the v.a. has an investment in limb prosthetics in 2009 with the development of the amputeesome of -- system of care that should be commended
for its commitment and focused on this important population. the report also notes high satisfaction levels with lower limb prosthetics but less satisfaction with upper extremity and we agree that the v.a. should improve on this care of the population and request the v.a. to publish a report on upper limb research associated with the v.a. d.o.d. research conference held two years ago. naaop takes issue with the calculation of the difference in what it asserts as a cost to the v.a. to provide prosthesis on average to veterans and the veterans health administration. this -- the report stated that 12ds,000 on average for a prosthesis while the average cost of a limb was approximately $2,900. this is highly suspect calculation of v.a.'s true cost of providing prosthetic care and we want to know what the costs are associated with those -- that went into that report.
as the v.a. enhances its internal prosthetic capacity, it's important to recognize the legitimate role of private prosthetic care to veterans. private prosthetics in hometown communities preserve quality by allowing their choice in providing relationship. it can mean all the difference in the world, especially for myself, going on to higher level competition and wanting to have a higher quality of life. i think the last two points, i think it's important that the v.a. maintains access to local private prosthetics under contract with the v.a. to conveniently service veterans and this is why the naaop strongly agrees with the recommendation in the health care inspector report that v.a. addresses veterans' concerns with the v.a. approval process for fee-based and v.a. contract for prosthetic services to meet the needs of veterans with amputations. so we ask the committee to
seriously consider in subsequent legislative hearing passes of legislation pending before this committee that seeks to address this very issue, an injured amputee veterans bill of rights. i want to thank you for examining this critical issue and i also thank you for this opportunity to testify before you and with i welcome your questions. >> thank you very much, mr. register. mr. meyer, you may proceed. >> thanks for the chance to talk to the subcommittee today and thank you for those kind words in your introduction. i really appreciate that, ma'am. i've received, like john i've received a lot of prosthetic care. i've received it from the v.a., from brook army medical center from walter reed, and the private sector. in reference to my peer mentoring and peer visiting amputees at walter reed over the years, i've gotten to know the current warriors and their
families, their concerns and in short i think i understand the catastrophic injuries they have overcome through military health care and rehabilitation, i understand it from being at their bedside and also from being in that hospital bed myself. as of may 1, there's 1,459 amputees -- i'm sorry, warriors with amputations, i should say. the care for those warriors is at the very core of the v.a.'s mission. it's clear that v.a.'s prosthetics today is at a crossroads. v.a. to me has the chance to regain its leadership role that you referred to. in the excellence in this field of prosthetics provision and amputee care. but the current direction and recent decisions involving prosthetic care suggest that the veterans health
administration, v.h.a., is about to further compromise its ability to serve these veterans. in 2004, eight years ago, the secretary of it testified before this committee that v.a. in his opinion had lost its edge in prosthetics. that it wasn't doing enough to ensure that v.a. had developed world-class prosthetic care and rehabilitation programs. his primary solution at that time was to build a, quote, center of excellence in amputee research and rehabilitation. the secretary's words of eight years ago still ring true today, but the number of warriors with amputations has since increased by over 900%. in 2006 congress revisited this issue and proposed legislation to create n.v.a., five such venters. the leadership of the v.a. opposed the bim and the legislation died. in my humble opinion, as a result, some that have history, the v.a. lost its long-held
leadership position in prosthetics and was eclipsed by d.o. dfment. since 2006, d.o.d. has not established just one, but three amputee centers of excellence. which are holistic in care. the warriors there receive world class care and when they're no longer on active duty they're going to have to turn to the v.a. in my opinion, the v.a. has to ensure that the expertise is necessary to continue the level of clinical care that the warriors have become accustomed to in the military and the v.a.'s administrative processes guarantee timely care. i want to reference your remarks, madam chairwoman, about transfer of warranted prosthetic purchases within prosthetic services in the v.a. to acquisition, to supply. i totally agree. i think the potential wait times because of lack of knowledge on the supply side about prosthetics, if this were
a bulk purchase item, i probably wouldn't be worried about it. but i know john and i know that when prosthetics are delayed it's not a wait time. it's an inability to function in my life or to thrive in life. i want to couple that with i understand that v.a. is moving towards decentralizing the funding for prosthetic purchases. this is an issue that was solved over 20 years ago by centralizing our fencing off those funds so local medical, v.a. medical facility directors could not use that money for other purposes. 20 years ago veterans were delayed until the next fiscal quarter or the next fiscal year because the moneys were used for other purposes. i'd like to summarize by saying what i think needs to happen with v.a. right now. i think it's time for them to suspend the decision on -- their decision on v.h.a. transfer of the prosthetic
purchases to supply. also, to kind of drop any discussions about decentralizing the funding, at the same time it's time for a full scale program eveil situation led by a little more -- evaluation led by a little more i impartial body such as v.a.'s office of policy and planning and put stakeholder cohorts on that effort and i kind of list those in my written statement. and have that effort report directly to the oversight of secretary shinseki. to me he has shown he has the ability to take tough issues and decide what's right for the veterans. thanks for the chance to be here. >> thank you both very much. and i will now yield myself five minutes for questions. i'll started with you, mr. register. when you received your injury, you received care both from the d.o.d. as well as from the v.a. >> i did. >> and you mentioned that in your opening statement. can you compare and contrast the services, how would you say one was versus the other? either positively or
negatively? >> yes. i will. i think that i want to clarify when i went to the department of defense at walter reed, this was before all of the new kind of bells and whistles they have over there now with the amputee care because it is extraordinary what the service members have. and so i would liken them, they were pretty much the same. they were almost on an equal basis. so i had prosthetic limb that was made there and also over in the v.a. that was right here in the d.c. area. and i had no issues going between either one or the other. i think when it came time for understanding a little higher level of activity, i found both lacking in that knowledge base and so i began seeking it out as going, trying to become a world class athlete, and looking what was going on not just in the united states but around the world and what other people were walking or running on. that's what i started looking at, who needs to begin to align
this thing so i can run at my optimum time. and that i found outside of both the d.o.d. and the v.a. system. some of that expertise is so critical that i went all the way to california from virginia to find one doctor who knew how to get me aligned right and correctly. if i didn't get that person, i would not be a silver medalist today and that's just a point of fact. i think for my ongoing care right now, again, it's not -- it was just more the inconvenience than it is for what i see. but i do see, having been down to brook army medical center, out in san diego, california, and here at walter reed, that care is exquisite and -- exquisite and these individuals that are coming through are not -- they're looking to get back into the fight. they're looking to go back into what they're units, so that's the same level of high activity that i found lacking before. that they're now receiving to go back and do those things. amputees are now back in the fight and they're going on to
higher employment, they're going on to being with their families and that's what i see as a difference. >> thank you. in your opening remarks, you talked about the fact that the v.a. has lost its leadership position in prosthetics and i'd like to know if you can maybe identify or help me to understand when and how v.a. lost its premier status and military took that over. >> yeah. i'll try. i had the pleasure of being the first staff committee manager for the very first v.a. prosthetics advisory committee, in the early 1990's. i didn't have a vote. i just took the notes and organized the agenda. the burning issues of the day are already being reconsidered by v.h.a. my quarrel is not with the p.s.
-- psaa employees and their ability, they're professionals. they do a good job. my quarrel is a at the more senior ranks of v.a. management, and it doesn't matter who is there. culturaly, and i understand the motivation, culturally they look for, because of budget reasons, they look for flexibility at the local management level. at the medical facility. prosthetics moneys and procedures are a very interesting, large target. that's how i would summarize it. >> thank you. mr. register, in your testimony you talk about differing needs depending on where the -- whether it's an upper body or lower extremity. can you talk about that with us and the needs as you see them are different? >> i think with the upper extremities, the use of getting the hand function back i think
is one that's pretty critical, as you look at how that's come and developed over time, it's really amazing of the intricacy that the upper body js with getting that limb function back. with lower extremities it's a matter i think of just gape and walking functionality of the limb. it's kind of comical to look inside the world of amputees, below the knee amputees, when i'm down at brook army medical center, for example, is below amputees and above amputees have a rift going against each other, where the above knee amputees call the below knee amputees paper cuts because they have their knee, right? i think it's a matter of functionality and walking again and getting back upright with that. whereas with arms, we write with our arms and we -- they're more mechanical as far as what what we're doing. they're more tangible with that. i think that's a difference between the upper extremity and
lower extremity. >> thank you both very much. i now will yield to the ranking member for his questions. >> thank you very much. i once again want to thank both of you for your service to this great nation and for coming here today as well. mr. mayer, you recommended that for the strategic plan, for v.h.a. can participate in, the operational controls should be centralized in the secretary's office. could you explain a little more why that should be? >> it's just an opinion based on historical experience. like i said, v.h.a. and p.s. -- psas have a long history of dedicated professionalism but when it comes down to these issues, you know, i'm just here to tell you, john is right.
this generation of warriors are athletes. my day we wanted to learn how to walk. walking don't get it for these guys and gals. they run. they climb mountains. they go in the par olympics. i get out of breath just walking -- watching them. i'm here to tell you, if you think the complaints were big 20 years ago, wait a couple months, let these policies go in effect and you know who's going to get the complaints. it's going to be members of congress and veteran service organizations. that's why i kind of go, ok, no knock to v.a. management, but the secretary's shown activist style when it comes to large issues. cool. >> you also mentioned the department of defense definitely has a superior spooryority over the v.a. as it relates to this issue. why do you think that is? the fact that it doesn't have to go up to the secretary of -- department of defense, it appears that it's down at the lower level, why is at that?
>> i think it's a question of leadership recognizing the clientele and their needs and the fact that john said, a number of them want to get back in the fight. so they've got to be trained, they have to be conditioned and they have to go through a board process to actually certify that they can return to duty. so it's a question of need. congress provided the funding. congress still provides the funding. it's known out there as the war funding. my only concern about that is, given the budget situation, i don't know how much longer that funding's going to let these centers operate at the level that they do. but i think the real key is what i called holistic. i don't want to go into the details of trying to name -- it's not just the surgical expertise and the clinical expertise, it's the merger right together of physical therapy, outpatient therapy, adaptive sports, challenges and to me one of the best kept secrets in the military is the outpatient nurse amputee manager.
for years at walter reed i have watched this individual, steve springer, quietly fix problems, keep the track on recovery, be the advocate, and never in a way that calls attention to his role, but really calls attention to the warriors. so i think that's what makes it work. and i think co-locating research with the clinical part, instead of being stand-alone, is another big accomplishment. >> great. thank you. mr. register, how long did it take you to get the new technology that permits microprocessing control of the prosthetic knee through the v.a.? >> i've done it twice now. and in the first time, with -- i was here in the virginia area, when i first got what we call the c-leg. and that is kind of the first microprocessing technology that worked pretty well. and that process took about a month to maybe a month and a half, maybe six weeks. and the current process of going back and forth, it took about three months to get that
prosthesis. in fact, the situation was i was going up -- i try and show by example, so i attend the national veteran wheelchair games which will be in richmond this years, and i had a wheelchair made for playing wheelchair basketball so my chair had come in and i went back up to the v.a. to go -- to get it up in the denver area, traveling 70 miles, i knew i had to go there to get it. and on the way i just kind of sent a note, i was in the lobby area, waiting for my appointment, and i got an email saying, you know what? your leg is here. it's in. i said, great, it's all -- i can walk out of here with it. he said, no, we want to come back again and we have to fabricate it and make sure everything is good to go. so i could have left that day with three pieces of my equipment, my wheelchair, my sports chair and then my artificial leg and walked right out of there. but because the v.a. wanted to
ensure that the fabcation of my sock et was done to mirror that with the new x-2 i have, was just -- it's kind of funny and ludicrous to me that i could not just go on the shelf, put it on with my allen wrench and just walk out the door with it. >> thank you. >> i now recognize the gentleman from tennessee, mr. roe, dr. roe. >> thank you. again, both of you all, thank you for your service to our country. i also want to congratulate the staff that wrote this memo today for the most ac anymores i've ever seen. i counted at least a dozen. i thought the p.l.o. -- whatever. but this is a different organization here. john, why do you think or do you think that there's -- or either one of y'all can grab there, is there a drop-off? i've been to walter reed on
multiple occasions and it is unbelievable and now bethesda, to see the amputees up and about and the care they're getting. is there a drop-off when they go to the v.a. when these warriors are handed off? the ones that don't return to duty, and many of them are, you're absolutely right, there's a different expectation than mr. mayer and i's generation. there's a completedy different view of the young people now is there a drop-off? do you see that? and certainly in your case because you're incredibly motivating, not in your case. >> thank you for the question. i think with what mr. maey -- mayer was saying, it is spot on. i think it's a much larger shoon that -- issue than just the amputees. i think there's a systemic care that has to happen, a continuum of care that goes forward. what i am seeing now, with the drop, i think it has to do, my personal opinion, is that there's a center of excellence,
when these young men and women are coming back to the d.o.d. hospitals and they're coming back as units when we see a k.i.a., a killed in action, i'm looking at the paper, i know that there are going to be six or seven other young men and women who are coming back and are going to hit those d.o.d. hospitals that survived that. and so those are the ones i'm focused in on and when i see them come back, they are extremely motivated to get back because they don't want, as the soldier's cede, is they don't want to leave a fallen comrade. once you get those sports and mechanisms and tools to rehabilitate, they're ready to be active again. i think on the v.a. side the population has always been different and that's not been -- the activity level hasn't been as high for getting back into like a war fighting situation. so i think that's the drop. what i do see on the v.a. side right now is that the new sports center that -- those sports programs, they're really
pushing out into the communities now, increasing the activity level of the veteran patient. so those that coming to the v.a. hospitals are being linked in with community-based programs across the united states and that's at its infancy right now. so model is being change and i think that's going to change the dynamic for the v.a. >> i think part of it, too, maybe generational. as you are older, your expectation may be just to am bue late. if i can ambulate well, that's a success. a 23-year-old, that's not a reasonable outcome. your reasonable outcome is to return to whatever i did before, backpacking, whatever it may be. and i totally agree with you on the upper and lower extremity. i think that's really tough. we just graduated a year ago, young medical student who is now a physician, and who lost his right arm with a blackhawk helicopter crash and came back, did his premed, graduated. it's tougher for him. he's going into emergency medicine but because of the